Monday, July 14, 2014

Good Developments, Unfinished Business

It's been a year now since Matt Hamner became the Chief of BIPD, and local papers have done a great job highlighting his successes. Much praise is due to the Chief for his assigning priority to community relations, and we're particularly pleased that he has reinvigorated the bike patrol program, worked with the Civil Service Commission to improve the police hiring process, emphasized youth outreach, and has joined other Kitsap County police departments by appointing a crisis intervention officer. These advances are all in keeping with ideas and recommendations that ICP has been advocating since its inception.

Two years ago, ICP assembled a group of citizens to discuss a history of poor relations between our community and police department, and to develop ideas for alleviating this problem.  It is most gratifying to see so many of our recommendations now being realized. We wish to thank the many people who participated in our "Citizens' Committee" and who contributed so much toward shaping the positive changes we now are seeing.  

ICP's current focus is to assist Chief Hamner with a few items of unfinished business.  Paramount among these is the creation of a civilian police commission to compliment police reforms and improved police/community relations. There is, at the moment, no public forum where community members can comment on police services or make suggestions for improvement. There is no forum where our representatives on council can consider and investigate police policy ideas. ICP thinks this kind of city committee is essential for the long term success of the BIPD, along with improvements to the BIPD's complaint processing system. The topic will be taken up by City Council on July 28.