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IN THE RING: Is Keizer’s level of policing too low, too high or just right?

This week’s question was:

“Is Keizer’s level of policing too low, too high or just right?”

Jeanne Bond-Esser, retired educator and parks advocate:
“I’m not sure how one ever really answers this, but I certainly don’t think our level of policing is too high.

“Is there an ‘acceptable’ level of crime? Or, a point of diminishing returns? In other words, a level of crime or (in)security which does not diminish as more police officers are added? I suspect that if we doubled the number of officers, we’d still have some level of crime — but where that optimum cost/benefit point is between what we have now and double the force, I don’t know. I suppose if we added a couple of officers and tracked crime rates, we could quantify any additional benefit.

“As I understand, there are professional guidelines based on population and other factors. Again as I understand, our force level falls below those guidelines, (although with all the empty houses in my neighborhood, West Keizer, I wonder what our population really is right now).

“So, lacking any valuable insight on staffing, I’ll instead report the outcomes I’d like: Continue to staunch, slow — better yet rid us– of the community-ruining and seemingly intractable invasion of gang and drug activity. Continue to keep our parks safe for folks to walk and play in. Catch thieves. Help keep Keizer a place where law-abiders feel safe and at ease and ne’re-do-wells feel very vulnerable and nervous.

“Then ask the Chief how many officers he needs.

“(And if/when our main complaint is speeding, we’re probably there.)”

Phil Bay, retired insurance agent and former city councilor:
“The police dept. level of service is doing just fine.  They run a very fine department and Chief Adams is also doing a great job.  Let’s work on reducing the drug crime in our city.   Drug crimes include users, sellers and alll the crime that goes on to support their habits.”

Marlene Quinn, event planner:
“Too low as it is with most cities. So would that be a budget priority yes. But probably won’t be for awhile and as I read the nixle reports it seems to me that the crime in Keizer is not improving so those two extra officers would help a lot. Less crime would mean more families moving to Keizer which is what we want. So the city does need to work on hiring those two new officers. Too bad the civic center went over budget or we would have had the money for at least one more officer.  I hope that if they have to lay off any city employees it is not the police force or the parks department.”

Art Bobrowitz, Compass Rose Consulting:
“Public safety is an issue that has many perspectives. Keizer is a growing community. While that may not mean actual people moving to our neighborhoods, it can relate to people who visit, shop and do business with Keizer businesses and services. The creation of the Chemawa exchange has also increased the number of vehicles now part of the Keizer perspective. Now add to the equation the push for increased use of Keizer parks. All these issues can be a challenge for any public safety organization.

“Keizer leaders need to support public safety with the resources necessary to meet a growing community perspective. They should have the personnel necessary to be as effective as other city services. Public safety is an attitude. A reactive police force is not as effective as a proactive public safety organization that truly represents a safe community.”

Kimberly Strand, owner/broker of Willamette Valley Real Estate:
“I think this is a great question for the police department!  Are you feeling over worked, do you feel you need additional officers to be more effective.  From a citizen stand point Keizer is a safe and wonderful place to live and I notice the police presence in the community, I think they are doing a great job!”