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Chief's Corner: City police full staffed, ready to serve

All of us at The Dalles Police Department would like to thank the community for your support this past year. We had a busy 2018 and I cannot believe it’s already the end of the year.

The police department had an increased call load this year, coupled with the challenge of not being fully staffed. Our officers did a great job keeping up and I am happy to report that help has arrived and we are currently fully staffed for the first time since I arrived here in 2016.

That is good news for the city and we are looking forward to getting our last two officers through their final phase of training and out on their own.

As a plus, the police department now has four Spanish speakers.

I would encourage anyone who knows someone who has been apprehensive about calling the police because of a language barrier to let them know there will now likely be someone on duty, or answering the phone, who speaks Spanish and can take information or answer questions.

This year the police department has been expanding services into other areas the community has identified as challenges.

We meet weekly with other agencies and citizen volunteers to address the homeless challenge that has been identified as one of our community’s top priorities.

You may not necessarily believe the homeless challenge is a police matter, but in my opinion it is. Homelessness is a complex social problem, one not easily addressed by just law enforcement, but we certainly should be a part of any solutions moving forward.

Homelessness impacts the quality of life of not just those who are housing challenged, but those who call The Dalles home, and even those who visit.

The police department is involved with the local homeless coalition. The homeless coalition has recently renamed itself as “The Dalles Housing Solution Coalition.” So if in the future you are looking for the homeless coalition, remember the new name. There will soon be a Facebook page and more information about the coalition as it continues to develop.

One of the most immediate needs identified by The Dalles Housing Solution Coalition is the need for volunteers at the warming shelter.

There have been several nights this year the shelter was not able to open because there were no volunteers available. If you want to get involved and have an instant, positive impact with those living on the streets, please contact Ed Elliot at 541-386-5857 and learn what it takes to become a volunteer at the warming shelter.

On Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, The Dalles Housing Solution Coalition will be holding an event called “The Community Connection.” The Mid-Columbia Senior Center has offered their facility to accommodate this event. Services will be provided to the housing challenged population from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

More information on how you can support this event will be available as the date gets nearer.

Another program the police department is promoting is our local Neighborhood Watch program.

We meet once a month at the police department to discuss neighborhood issues and share information.

Earlier in December we had a fundraiser dinner for the program. We raised over $500 and gave away five Ring doorbell surveillance systems to our Neighborhood Watch captains.

If you’re interested in getting involved with a current Neighborhood Watch, or are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch in your neighborhood, please reach out through the Neighborhood Watch Facebook page for monthly meeting schedules.

Please join me and take a moment to remember your dedicated and diligent law enforcement in our community.

Several of them are away from their families over every holiday to ensure the safety and security of our community.

These officers, troopers, and deputies all do a great job serving the community, and I for one am very grateful for their selfless service.

We want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year and look forward to serving you in this upcoming year.

As always, stay safe and never be afraid to come to the police department to pay us a visit, whether official, or just to get the “police” low down.


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