Despite the large-scale community effort to revitalize Kennewick City, in the end, it appears that some Kennewick City Council members do not want to make the effort to change something that may have been perceived as a negative. On May 8th, at a public hearing prior to the planned launch of their new Community Mobile Watch Program, council members voted 5-2 against allowing volunteers to assist the police with community safety issues. At this meeting, council member Mary Barnes made her comments regarding the Police Department's lack of transparency regarding their crime stats. Ms. Barnes believes that the Police should be more transparent regarding the statistics, such as how many burglaries they have recorded on an annual basis and what specific crime crimes they are responding to most frequently. The Police Chief Bill Simpson responded by stating that he was not familiar with the previous discussion and would look into it.
Unfortunately for the citizens of Kennewick, they will not get the chance to ask either of these questions. Unfortunately, as stated in the previous article, the community is caught between a rock and hard place regarding their police department's transparency. While community members want to see the Police fully accountable for their actions, they also do not want to see them overly involved in everyday community activities. That being said, the Police seem to be making an effort.
On June 4th, the council will hold an open house to give the community a chance to discuss their desires with the Police. Hopefully, this will bring some transparency to this department, which I believe is sorely lacking. The police should be commended for showing restraint while dealing with the community over recent months. However, I believe that the Police are still struggling with communication and transparency. They have failed the citizens of Kennewick City with their actions over the last few months, and I want the residents to take this into consideration while voting for any candidate, whether they agree with me or not.
In hindsight, I believe that the Police Chief and his officers have not done a good job communicating with the citizens of Kennewick. It seems like they only communicate with those citizens who are on the outside of the circle. These are the people they see at the marina, shopping centers, and occasionally in their own neighborhood. These are the people we address with the most complaints. They are also the ones that we turn to when there are problems with the general public and not the people that live in the community.
This is what I want to see from the council members. You should not feel like the Police are out there only to hassle you at the gas pump or at the store. You need to respect the citizens of the city and they will respect you as a counselor. The residents of this community are fed up with having to deal with the Police. I believe that they deserve more respect, especially considering they pay their yearly taxes to help keep this wonderful community runs smoothly.
If you do not feel that the Police Chief and the other city officials are doing their job, then perhaps you should hire one to come in and see how things are handled in the city. In other words, allow these folks to get some experience before they decide to run for office. They will surely have a better idea about the daily operations at this particular department. And, it will give them a great knowledge base as they move forward in their future city government position. Please consider all this.