HOQUIAM POLICE DEPARTMENT – AN OVERVIEW
Currently, the Hoquiam Police Department consists of 27 full-time positions in four basic functions: PATROL, ADMINISTRATION, POLICE SERVICES and INVESTIGATIONS. The department is a member of the Grays Harbor Drug Task Force and currently has a detective sergeant assigned as the supervisor of the multi-agency unit.
The backbone of the department is the PATROL function. Most calls for service and law incidents are handled by the 14 sworn officers assigned to Patrol. Officers and sergeants assigned to Patrol work three 12-hour days followed by three days off. Minimum patrol officer staffing is two officers on-duty at all times, except for three officers at night from 6 PM to 2 AM.
Patrol shifts are covered 24-hours a day, 365-days per year to provide immediate assistance to resident calls for service, as well as to accomplish the department’s mission and focus points.
Most members of the division also maintain collateral duty assignments on a regular basis. These additional responsibilities include the Aberdeen Regional Crisis Response Unit, firearms instructors, field training program, defensive tactics training, evidence function, patrol scheduling, arson investigation, emergency vehicle instructor, department quartermaster, computer networking, gang investigations and special patrol/ grant projects (such as county-wide traffic safety patrols).
The Administration function consists of the chief of police, the deputy chief of police (second in command of the department), a police office manager and one police records specialist. Since the records function of the department only has two members assigned, the police services officers assist with covering all of the duties related to police records, to include: answering the phone, assisting citizens in the lobby, filing police reports, local computer data entry, state/ national crime computer entry/ audits, creating statistical reports and filing the monthly National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS). The police office manager is also responsible for all internal department financial functions, to include the payment of invoices and the preparation of payroll. The department enters data into the county-wide police computer records management system developed by Spillman Technologies.
The POLICE SERVICES function is currently comprised of five police services officers and one animal control/ parking/ code enforcement officer. With the re-opening of the City Jail in April 2013, the department hired additional police services officers to staff the facility 24/7. Currently, the entire expense for the City Jail is offset under a contract with the state Department of Corrections to hold “Swift and Certain” state probation violators within Grays Harbor. The city receives a fee each day for each state inmate who is held in the City Jail (currently $85 per day). The City Jail also provides inmate bed space to the cities of Ocean Shores and Cosmopolis.
With the jail expansion completed in April 2016, the City Jail is now bunked to hold 18 male prisoners and 12 female prisoners for a total of 30. For the past two years, the City Jail has been operating at no expense to the Hoquiam city taxpayer. The additional inmate capacity created covered the capital costs of the jail expansion.
In addition to handling corrections duties in the City Jail, the police services officers work on criminal records and filing, screen walk-in lobby complaints, enter warrants and protection orders, answer the phone, transport prisoners and assist with code enforcement or other non-sworn police services as needed.
The animal control officer is tasked with working to make the community free of stray and dangerous animals by enforcing municipal and state laws and to assist and educate citizens about responsible pet ownership. This position also directly responds to the Hometown Hoquiam tenet of “improving the safety and appearance of neighborhoods” by enforcing parking regulations and aggressively abating abandoned or junk vehicles on city streets and alleys.
The INVESTIGATIONS function consists of two detectives. Although the Investigations function usually does not directly take general calls for service, the detectives are an important support function to patrol. The detectives usually become involved with serious crimes and complex criminal investigations– such as frauds, forgeries and other financial crimes. The function is also responsible for crimes against children and vulnerable adults, sexual assault investigations and sex offender registration/ tracking within the city. Currently, the department has a detective sergeant assigned as the supervisor of the multi-agency Grays Harbor Drug Task Force which focuses on interdicting criminal drug enterprises in the county and the region.
FACILITIES AND ROLLING STOCK
The police department operates out of the police station located at 215 Tenth Street at the base of the Simpson Ave Bridge. In 2018, the department handled 16,087 law incidents with a ratio of approximately one officer per 500 residents. The department currently has a fleet of patrol cars and sport utility vehicles shared among the different shifts (thus many cars are operated 24-hours a day.) The department also utilizes administrative cars, undercover detective vehicles, a jail van and a Special Operations vehicle which acts as a mobile command post at search warrants, stand-offs, natural disasters or other events.
The department sponsors two excellent VOLUNTEER groups: CRIME WATCH consisting of senior volunteers and POLICE EXPLORERS for youth ages 16 to 20. Both groups have contributed thousands of hours of service to the city and the department.
Department Mission: Through community partnerships and problem solving, we take a unified stance against crime, violence, disorder and disregard for the law. With the budgetary support and cooperation of the citizens we serve, we help Hoquiam to be strong and self-sufficient– because a strong community is a safe community.
Department Focus Points: 1. Target Drug Dealers and Locations; 2. Proactive Traffic Safety Enforcement; 3. Chronic Nuisance Abatement; 4. Responding to Persons in Crisis; and 5. Operation of Safe, Clean and Efficient City Jail.