New group will focus on public safety
SNOHOMISH - What was once lost to the city of Snohomish has again been found — and it’s new and improved.
The newly formed public safety commission, comprised partly of two former city boards that dissolved when the Snohomish Police Department was absorbed by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office in January, is a brand new advisory board to the City Council.
City Manager Larry Bauman said the newly formed advisory group hopes to have a “much broader discussion about safety” than each of the former groups could have alone, including how to deal with natural disasters, disaster preparedness, neighborhood watch groups, as well as overall public safety.
“It’s a pretty broad mission for this group,” Bauman said.
The public safety commission — which was made official in March once a new city ordinance was approved defining its purpose — meets on a monthly basis and already has one meeting under its belt.
Merle Kirkley, formerly from the civil service commission, was elected chair at that first meeting last month.
All seven members are volunteers and were nominated by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council.
Bauman said choosing the members was simple — the city surveyed former members of the now-defunct civil service commission and liquor advisory commission to see if they’d be interested in being a part of the new commission. All who affirmed their interest were welcomed to the new group.
“We merged (the members of the former groups) so we can keep some of the institutional knowledge that those members have had,” Bauman said.
In addition to the four members from former groups are three citizens with expertise in other areas of public safety: Jim Schmoker from Fire District 4 board of commissioners will be an official member of the group, along with neighborhood watch representative Jan Lengenfelder and Sue Sullivan.
Police Chief John Flood, along with Councilman Derrick Burke and Fire Chief Mark Collins, will act as advisors and directors for the commission.
The members’ terms will be staggered.
Bauman said increasing neighborhood involvement for the annual “National Night Out Against Crime” will be an issue the group hopes to impact in the near future.
The commission will be attempting to make this event more dispersed among the neighborhoods, instead of having one large get-together as has happened in the past.
Bauman hopes that having several neighborhood-sponsored mini-events will encourage cohesiveness among the neighborhood watch groups, ultimately improving community safety.
National Night Out takes place in August, and Bauman hopes the event will spur the five or six already organized neighborhood watch groups to expand.
The public safety commission meets the second Tuesday of the month at 5 p.m. at the Fire District 4 Training Annex, 1525 Ave. D. Meetings are open to the public.