Blaine police see year of opportunity, officer awards
By Mike Haslip, Chief
2003 has been a year of opportunity and challenge for members of the Blaine police department. Some police programs have improved and grown beyond our most optimistic expectations.
Our patrol K-9, Yoschi, and handler officer Michael Munden, received their state �Master Canine Officer� certification this year, well ahead of the pack, and have been very successful in locating criminals and drugs.
Several Blaine PD officers made and participated in significant felony drug arrests during 2003. These cases help to stem the cancer of drug use and sales in the community, especially in the area of methamphetamine abuse.
This fall, officer Jon Landis and the youthful members of Blaine�s Extreme Sports Club dedicated the site for their community skate park, on property set aside near city hall by our city council.
Selected officers received specialized training in investigating sexual assault cases and abuse crimes against children. Unfortunately, we were also called upon several times this year to use those skills to investigate crimes against children and women. While we have seen an increase in assault, burglary, theft, and drug offenses during 2003, Blaine police officers have cleared or resolved over half of all reported serious crimes, well above the national average.
These successes come in a time of significant resource constraints. 2003 began with budget cuts that required we eliminate a full-time civilian support staff member and reduce office hours.
As 2003 ends, we are preparing to eliminate a full-time police officer, giving us 2,000 fewer hours of police service next year. These reductions in staff are needed to help the city �live within its means.� One of our goals for 2004 is to ensure that living within our means does not mean compromising the safety of our residents or degrading the quality of life which they enjoy.