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Chief sees narratives in crime numbers

SNOHOMISH — Snohomish called on its police force about 500 times a month, and officers initiated approximately another 300 calls a month, during the last quarter of 2017.
“That statistic is meaningful, it shows officers are out in the community finding things,” said Police Chief Keith Rogers. Total calls numbered 829 in October, 740 in November and 853 in December.
Rogers presented the numbers during his quarterly report to the City Council on Feb. 6, but he stressed that data could only give an incomplete picture of police operations, that the narrative was what mattered.
“It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the people in this room,” Rogers said to the crowd.
“For example, if we make an arrest on a warrant subject, it will show ‘warrant subject,’ it won’t show he had heroin on him, so a drug was involved, or a knife was on him or (brass) knuckles, so when I present it as a warrant arrest it’s incomplete,” Rogers said in a follow-up interview.
Part of the narrative in Snohomish is traffic. Rogers said it was the primary call type officers handled.
The department responded to approximately 100 traffic calls monthly. That included 31 collisions in October, 32 in November and 38 in December. Officers also handled an increasing number of DUIs month over month, from 18 in October to 20 in November and 23 in December.
“I find it concerning personally, for a town of this size, when I see that number,” Rogers said about the DUIs.
Burglaries and thefts, including shoplifts, also rose slightly in December with a total of 26 cases reported in December compared to 23 in November and 21 in October. Vehicle thefts held steady with three in October and November, and four in December.
During the fourth quarter, the department also responded to 49 fire calls, 15 mental health related calls, and 31 about noise.
Rogers also shared some non-crime numbers, more in line with his focus on community engagement: He said by increasing Facebook posts of photos and content, the number of people following the department grew from approximately 2,700 to 3,700. The number of Twitter followers doubled.
Rogers had three more figures to share: $1,500, 40 and 33. The first was the amount raised for December’s Shop with a Cop event, where 40 officers helped bring the holidays to 33 children.
In addition to crime, nuisance complaints and community outreach, Rogers said the department responded to 177 public information requests, 55 concealed permit license applications and 50 fingerprint record checks during the last three months of 2017.
Rogers said he was planning to have a Twitter event where a deputy would post every call during a shift to share the type of work Snohomish officers were doing.
Councilwoman Linda Redmon asked Rogers to share information about violent crimes going forward. She also said she hoped that Rogers adding a new outreach officer would mean less calls over time as officers connected people with services.
“Just one is a win,” Rogers said.

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