News

Valley slightly impacted by WTO conference

While it might not seem apparent at first glance, last week's meeting

of the World Trade Organization in Seattle _ and its concurrent

parades, demonstrations, riots, posturing and vandalism _ did have some impact

on Valley residents.

Although the majority of the region's citizens listened to the

events unfold on the radio or watched the televised coverage in their offices

and homes, several members of the community were directly or indirectly

involved. Those "participants" were officers assigned to the local law

enforcement agencies, such as the King County Sheriff's Office and the

Washington State Patrol. Community police departments, such as Snoqualmie

and Duvall, were also impacted by the rapid redeployment of law

enforcement personnel into Seattle.

The influx of officers into downtown followed Tuesday's violence

and Seattle Mayor Paul Schell's declaration of a Civic Emergency, with

curfew.

The local agencies were affected at varying levels. Snoqualmie

Assistant Chief Ed Crosson, contacted on Wednesday, said his department

had not yet been directly impacted.

"What we've done in the rest of the areas," Crosson commented,

"we met with King County and the State Patrol up here. When they called

for manpower to assist in Seattle, we were available to back up and answer

any calls they got in this area."

The Duvall Police Department got the SOS call on Monday

morning from the King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO), which asked for

backup manpower in the unincorporated areas around the city. "We were

assigned to a secondary mission," said Duvall Chief Glenn Merryman. "We had

an agreement to assist handling [KCSO's] calls."

"So, we're helping with a geography area of 15,000 people instead

of 5,000," he added.

Duvall brought in additional officers to help with the morning

and evening shifts. But luckily, things were fairly quiet in the unincorporated

areas, and the officers weren't dispatched to any incidents outside of

the city.

"Through good planning we were able to make sure daily services

had not been diminished even though it has been tapping into our

resources," Merryman said.

For the Carnation Police Department, however, it was business

as usual. The three deputies assigned to cover the city through the

King County Sheriff's Office worked their normal shifts and weren't asked

to venture outside of the city, said King County Deputy Sue Sherwood.

That wasn't quite the case for the deputies at the sheriff's North

Bend substation. According to Sgt. Grant Stewart, a few deputies _

including himself _ were shifted around or saw duty in or near Seattle.

"We had three or four of our officers that worked out of the North

Bend substation who were assigned to a civil response team in Seattle," he

commented Monday. "The county backfilled their officers on an

overtime basis, when necessary.

"As far as police service went for the unincorporated and contract

communities, it was unaffected. There were transition times when the

Seattle Police would call and say, `We need X number of officers' and we'd

respond to only in-progress emergencies. It's my understanding that

only happened on a couple of occasions."

Stewart himself ended up working in the North Precinct in

Kenmore. While there, he assigned officers and deputies to fill positions at patrol

stations in Seattle.

The embattled conference concluded Friday night and, over

the weekend, Seattle attempted to return to normal. A few protesters

remained outside the King County Jail Sunday morning while the occasional

Army National Guard vehicle could be seen prowling the street, drawing

looks from shoppers.

For officers of the local police agencies, Monday morning also

presented an opportunity to return to their usual schedules and duties.

According to Capt. Jim Schaffer of the Snoqualmie Police, in the end,

the week had proven to be a quiet one for the Valley.

"Apparently the situation did not warrant the State Patrol or

King County Sheriff to pull all their resources from the outlying areas,"

he stated. "They were able to do business as usual."

Valley Record staff writer Michelle Liu contributed to this story.

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