Crime rates in the city of Marysville continue a years-long decline.
The overall crime rate is down 19 percent from 2019 and down 37 percent from 2016, Marysville Police Chief Erik Scairpon said, noting the efforts of public safety workers who continued to serve the public during the pandemic.
“It speaks to the levels of professionalism they have shown during this time,” Scairpon said. “I’m tremendously proud of the work they’ve done.”
He added the past year has been a challenge to keep employees and their families healthy. COVID-19 has changed the way the police department operates. They have to make sure personal protective equipment is available and social distancing is maintained. The capacity of the jail has been lowered.
“We’ve maintained a healthy jail population the entire time,” Scairpon said.
The police department’s NITE team, which proactively works to resolve issues or any crime surges specific to neighborhoods. Scairpon said officers look where crime is happening and redirects resources.
The recently instituted Law Enforcement Embedded Social Worker program in which a social worker teams up with an officer to visit the homeless in the city. As of October 2020, the social worker program had 145 new clients, got chemical dependency review for 108 people, got 16 people into detox and helped secure housing for 79 people, Scairpon said, adding the program is one of the things that he found attractive about the Marysville Police Department. He started serving as chief of police in September 2020.
Marysville, Arlington and Lake Stevens police departments are partnering to hire two mental health professionals who will work with officers to respond to mental health calls.
In 2020, the Marysville Police Department received 1,500 mental health-related calls for service, while Arlington received 900 mental health calls and Lake Stevens received 425 mental health calls.
The three cities comprise nearly 124,000 residents and approximately 140 square miles. A grant from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs is helping fund the mental health professional program.
“It’s a really nice blend to reduce use-of-force and incarcerations and improve outcomes,” Scairpon said.
In addition to the department’s efforts to reduce crime and bring in mental health professionals, Scairpon highlighted several other goals for the coming year.
Officer safety and wellness training will be a priority for 2021. He said the pandemic prompted the cancellation of training classes last year.
Recruiting and retention will also be a priority. Scairpon said there are currently seven police vacancies and he like to see the department have waiting lists for every position. “For us it’s important to keep valuable employees.”
The department’s outreach efforts will continue. A drive-through Hispanic outreach event took place in January and officers gave out 400 hundred bags of treats during Halloween. He noted the challenges the pandemic has created for outreach efforts.
The department will work to modernize policies and accreditation to be standard with industry-wide best practices. Having updated policies and becoming an accredited state agency is positive accountability and helps trust from the community, Scairpon said.
“Professionalism is one of our values here,” Scairpon said.