The city of Auburn formed its Police Advisory Committee last fall to give the community a chance to make recommendations to the Chief of Police about community policing issues.
Its 24 members have met five times since Oct. 21, 2021, and over that span have come up with their top three priorities: concerns related to homelessness; concerns related to repeated crimes against businesses; and reducing officer-involved shootings to zero.
Members talked to their neighbors, friends and other members of the community for the group they represent to find out what residents wanted from the APD, and discovered those were: neighborhood safety; homelessness; vandalism of businesses; crime rates; and overall community safety.
But as Police Chief Dan O’Neil told the Auburn City Council on Monday night, the committee still lacks its crucial 25th member — the one who’ll speak for the LGBTQIA plus part of the community.
In fact, recruiting to fill that open position is the top priority at the moment.
Councilman Larry Brown told O’Neil that if the APD continues to have trouble filling that position, he’d be willing to help out.
O’Neil said other PAC’s goals are:
• To share more information, which waits upon the APD’s hiring of a public information officer;
• To create a PAC newsletter to share with the community on the PAC website;
•To post the names of PAC members on the website;
•To have PAC members address the City Council during a study session in March.
• To have an e-mail address up and running by March that will allow the community to ask questions of the PAC.
“I think we’re going to start seeing some actionable items from them as we move forward, and we’re going to start putting some plans in place,” O’Neil said.
Members represent the people of Auburn as active partners with the APD to develop policies and strategies for the implementation of stronger, more effective and more equitable community policing.
An important initiative of the PAC is to review police operations, significant criminal investigations and internal affairs investigations after they are completed — and consistent with Washington state law, provide comment and advice to the police chief.
The committee meets monthly for about two hours in the evening but will adjust its schedule as needed. Members must attend a minimum of one training day per year and commit to at least two years.
For more information, call the Auburn Police Department at (253) 931-3080.