Opinion | Carnation cops vote should have been like North Bend’s

Last Tuesday’s election results show that Snoqualmie Police have earned the trust of North Bend residents in the nine months since they assumed patrol duties from King County.

Last Tuesday’s election results show that Snoqualmie Police have earned the trust of North Bend residents in the nine months since they assumed patrol duties from King County.

The tax measure that North Bend voters approved, a tenth of a percent increase for sales tax, pays for police and fire protection. Part of the money goes to Eastside Fire and Rescue to make good a fire contract increase. The remainder will pay for an eighth officer, beefing up the force. Now, North Bend will have two cops on duty 18 hours a day and at least one officer around 24 hours a day. There’s no sunset date for the measure, so it’s permanent.

North Bend, of course, is a different animal from Carnation, five times larger than that Lower Valley city that narrowly missed passage on election day of its own measure allowing for extra police protection. The city had floated a property tax lid lift on the November ballot, increasing the tax rate by about 35 cents per $1,000 in assessed value. That’s about an extra $140 a year on a $400,000 house. What residents would have gotten for their extra taxes was 18 percent more police coverage. Given the fact that the city only gets about 40 hours of police coverage a week, that would have meant less time when the city’s residents are waiting for outside help in an emergency or crime.

Like North Bend, Carnation needed this. Residents who live inside city limits deserve to feel safe. It’s not that the Valley is growing less safe—any look back through the archives will show you that crime and violence have always happened here—but the Valley is growing, and with more people come more risk. Since Snoqualmie PD took over, North Bend saw a high-profile rape case, criminal transient activity in the city’s clandestine camps, a negligent homicide shooting, a stabbing, and the explosion of an entire downtown block. The seven men on the North Bend force have been busy. While there may not be a correlation between the number of police and the number of cases, I can’t help but wonder what extra police time would have meant for Carnation, in terms of prevented crimes, saved property and changed lives.

Better luck next time.

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