City of Olympia - Public Safety
Priority: Safe and Welcoming Neighborhoods
Olympia values safe and welcome neighborhoods. The future of our community is dependent on our children and families, and the neighborhoods where they live and play. In order to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Olympia, neighborhood safety is essential.
Data from a 2017 Citizen Survey shows that a significant percentage of Olympia residents consider their neighborhood to be safe during the day and at night.
A feeling of safety and security in and around the neighborhoods of Olympia is enhanced by the presence of law enforcement, the responsiveness of the City to criminal and code concerns, and having safe routes to schools and City centers.
Public Safety a Community Priority
In the fall of 2017, Olympia voters passed a Public Safety Levy providing additional funding to OPD and Code Enforcement. In 2018, the levy resulted in an additional $2.7 million in funding. As a result, several new and enhanced programs have been implemented to enhance the City’s ability to respond to neighborhood concerns, including a dedicated Neighborhood Policing Unit, an additional Code Enforcement Officer, and expanded Volunteer Police activities.
Performance: Connections with Residents
The Public Safety Levy has allowed OPD to carry out a more comprehensive and collaborative approach to community safety with a priority on neighborhoods and families. Officers spend time meeting residents at special events to help increase community awareness about OPD. Officers from across the department interact with members from all parts of our community, and are using technology and other communication tools to connect with the largest number of citizens possible.
Increased funding from the public safety levy has resulted in specific investments in new or expanded programs that enhance the City’s efforts to build trust and relationships in neighborhoods:
New Neighborhood Policing Unit Established
OPD established a new Neighborhood Policing Unit, which includes one Sergeant, and two Neighborhood Liaison Officers and one Neighborhood Program Specialist. This team works directly with neighborhood leaders to proactively identify and resolve issues that impact safety and quality of life such as nuisance and abatement issues related to problem houses. They also build relationships in the community by participating in neighborhood activities and events, and by being visible and accessible to residents, and working closely with Code Enforcement to address problem houses.
Since 2019, the Neighborhood Policing team has been busy monitoring problem houses, providing regular bike patrols, and attending neighborhood association meetings and reading sessions with students at schools.
New Code Enforcement Officer Added
The 2017 Public Safety Levy also provided funding for an additional Code Enforcement Officer. Code Enforcement Officers are in the Community Planning and Development Department; however, they work closely with OPD and neighborhoods to address community and safety concerns. Learn more about how to report a neighborhood issue to Code Enforcement here: Code Enforcement Brochure
An additional Code Enforcement Officer has made it so the team can be more responsive: investigating a larger number of requests in 2018, and successfully closing more cases. Data in 2018 also showed an increase in the number of investigations resolved without needing to open a formal case.
Citizen Volunteers Make a Difference
The Volunteers in Police Service Program is an opportunity for citizens to support OPD with crime prevention and community education. Volunteers are involved in a wide range of activities, from providing additional security or traffic control at special events, tracking and logging graffiti tags, to assisting with officer training. New volunteers are always welcome, encouraged to be creative, and supported in seeking out opportunities to match their interests. Learn more about the Volunteers in Police Service Program here: VIPS PDF brochure