MARYSVILLE – Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith is a thinker. He’s always trying to figure out how to do more with less.
He wants to be proactive. He wants to get the public more involved before crimes are committed. And he would like them to be more helpful and not be afraid to come forward if they do see a crime.
With summer coming on, students out of school, people on vacation, Smith knows crime is going to happen. The key for him is to get people to realize they need to get involved.
“Criminals don’t see boundary lines,” Smith said, explaining why his office works so much with the Tulalip community and other city government agencies. “Crime can happen anywhere.”
Smith said people don’t seem to get involved unless something happens to them personally. What they don’t realize is that if they don’t help out the problems will only spread.
The chief said there has been growing interest in prevention programs such as Neighborhood, Business and Waste Watch, but more community help is always needed.
He said his department has an ambitious goal this year – to reduce crime by 20 percent.
“I wanted to put a goal out there that was difficult, but achievable,” Smith said.
Burglaries are down 12 percent, which is “phenomenal,” he said. He talked about one recent arrest where two officers chased down a culprit who “scaled a fence like Spiderwoman.” She ended up having a stolen big-screen TV in her car.
Smith said he has been short on officers since the city annexed 20,000 people in 2010 without adding to the force. So, they have learned to do more with less by being flexible and focusing his officers and changing their duties based on criminal trends in the community.
“We get to the root of an issue,” he said. “I want my officers investigating. It will make us a better, more successful police department.”
Currently, the force is focusing on drugs. Smith said drugs are a continuing epidemic in the country and locally. He said meth and heroin use is on the rise, with even kids in junior and elementary schools using. So the force is focusing on crimes associated with drugs use, such as burglaries and car thefts.
Once the problem is identified, Smith likes to pull officers off other duties to form a strike team. Using this method, the force can do more with less. And with the help of the community, even more can be accomplished.
Smith wants the public to feel as he does; let’s have zero tolerance for crime.
“Even one shooting is unacceptable to me,” said Smith, who had to deal with gangs when he was in Los Angeles, and he doesn’t want that to happen here because of apathy toward crime. “Let’s not be resigned to the fact that crime attracts additional” and similar behavior.