Enhanced Police Services and Community Safety Ballot Measure

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As of 2022, the City has made several enhancements to public safety and community services, thanks to the passage of Proposition 1 in 2018. Investments include expansion of our School Resource Officer program, standing up a new proactive police unit (Pro-Act), and more than $1 million towards Human Services programs.

In September of 2019 the City launched its Pro-Act Unit, a new dedicated unit of five officers that focuses on illegal drugs, car prowls, burglaries, mail theft, shoplifting and enforcing extreme risk protection orders and court-ordered gun forfeitures. The City was also able to hire nine new officers to fill vacancies created by existing officers moving into positions such as School Resource Officer and Pro-Act Unit.

In 2020, the City expanded the School Resource Officer program into Kirkland middle schools - Finn Hill Middle School, Kirkland Middle School, Kamiakin Middle School, the International Community School, and Emerson K-12. Please visit the School Resource Officer program and meet our new school resource officers.

Kirkland voters passed the Enhanced Police Services and Community Safety Ballot Measure (Proposition 1) during the November 2018 general election. The passage of this public safety measure enabled the City to implement a 0.1 percent sale tax increase, which equates to a penny on every $10 purchase and is estimated to raise approximately $1.8 million annually. The Kirkland City Council made its decision to move forward with this ballot measure after extensive community outreach.

Key Features

Safety through Enforcement

The department implemented a dedicated proactive police unit (Pro-Act), consisting of three officers, one corporal and one sergeant, to focus on illegal drugs, car prowls, burglaries, mail theft, shoplifting and enforcing extreme risk protection orders and court-ordered gun forfeitures. The Proact unit, which deployed in September 2019, focuses on proactive enforcement rather than 9-1-1 call response. 

 

Safety through Engagement

  • As a result of Proposition 1, the police department has expanded its School Resource Officer (SRO) program by increasing the number of School Resource Officers (SROs) from two to six. SROs are assigned to Lake Washington High School, Juanita High School, Finn Hill, Kamiakin and Kirkland middle schools, the International Community School and Emerson K-12. The SRO program is made possible through a collaborative partnership between the police department and the Lake Washington School District.
  • A new Neighborhood Resource Officer will be paired with a dedicated mental health professional to help resolve police and fire calls with mental health complications including domestic violence, suicide attempts, assisting homeless persons and non-emergency calls.

Safety through Empowerment

While the City of Kirkland has granted funds to human services agencies for decades, Proposition 1 dollars provided opportunity for the Kirkland City Council to increase the City’s investment in homelessness services, behavioral health programs and after school activities. The City also supports agencies providing food, medical and dental care, plus domestic violence and sexual assault services, legal needs and support services for employment.

A list of all human services agencies funded and links to their websites is available at: Human Services Funded Agencies. 

Proposition 1 included funding to reduce homelessness, especially among women and families. This funding is helping to construct a permanent shelter for homeless women and families located adjacent to the Salt House Church near the corner of N.E. 80th Street and 120th Avenue N.E. The City has joined in with the following partners in this collaborative effort: The Sophia WayNew Bethlehem ProjectHoly Spirit Lutheran ChurchSalt House ChurchKing County, the state of Washington, ARCH (A Regional Coalition for Housing)East King County CDBG and private donors from the community, including the Holy Family Church in KirklandSt. Louise Church in Bellevue and donors from The Sophia Way

Safety through Education

Proposition 1 included dedicated funding for gun safety training in the community, including safe handling and storage training, subsidized trigger locks, and gun safes. 

The Department’s Community Services Unit and Firearms Training Unit developed an engaging and interactive presentation on the topic of firearms safety with the goal of hosting in-person training classes for the community. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, in-person training sessions had to be postponed. A series of firearm safety videos were posted on the City's website and shared on social media platforms. A third video was distributed in the first quarter of 2022, and a full in-person class was held in July 2022. Free gun locks continue to be offered to the community.

In a continuing effort to reduce gun violence within the community, and to reduce the likelihood of accidental injuries and suicides by firearms, the Department hosted two “Guns for Gift Cards” exchange events in summer of 2022.  This program encouraged Kirkland community members to voluntarily relinquish ownership of unwanted firearms in exchange for pre-paid gift cards. In total, 151 firearms were collected during the events.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the legal requirements for this ballot measure?

The statutory authority for this ballot measure is RCW 82.14.450. The ballot measure requires majority voter approval. This revenue is ongoing unless repealed by the Kirkland City Council.

Under state law, one-third of funds received must be used solely for criminal justice purposes, fire protection purposes, or both. If approved, the City Council's expressed intent is to use all of the funds generated through this measure to enhance community safety. Sales of motor vehicles are exempt from this tax. 15% of tax proceeds must be distributed to King County.

What is the City's six year financial forecast?

Due to the expiration of the Annexation Sales Tax Credit in June 2021, beyond 2020 the City's financial projection becomes negative, with a $17.9 million deficit projected for the 2023-2024 Biennium. Further details on the General Fund Forecast can be found here(PDF, 88KB) .

 

What is a proactive police unit (proact unit)?

The proact unit would be a new, dedicated unit of four police officers and a support staff position that focuses on illegal drugs, car prowls, burglaries, mail theft, shoplifting and enforcing extreme risk protection orders and court-ordered gun forfeitures. Creating a proact unit was a recommendation of the Kirkland Police Department Strategic Plan(PDF, 4MB)  (see page 20, Recommendation 4a, Option B). Proact units do not have to respond to 911 calls. Instead, these units can determine where crimes are occurring and can dedicate officers to those areas.

What is a School Resource Officer?

A School Resource Officer assists with school safety issues and provides basic law enforcement functions. The officers also teach curriculum designed to provide information on alcohol and drugs, conflict resolution, decision making and identification of consequences. These officers also act as a resource to schools on police-related matters. In addition to the Basic Law Enforcement Academy training that all certified police officers receive, school resource officers also take advanced training specific to working with students.

In partnership with the Lake Washington School District, the Kirkland Police Department has two SRO’s who are assigned to Lake Washington High School and Juanita High School. Both are fully commissioned, certified police officers. More information on Kirkland's SRO program can be found here .

What is a Neighborhood Resource Officer?

A neighborhood resource officer serves as a liaison between the police department and the community. Duties of the neighborhood resource officer include attending neighborhood meetings, teaching children and adults about safety, conducting safety assessments of resident’s property, assisting with homeless outreach, and coordinating events such as National Night Out and the Citizens Academy. The central strategy of the neighborhood resource officer program is community policing, an approach to policing that brings police and community members together to prevent crime and solve neighborhood problems. In this model, the emphasis is on stopping crime before it happens, not responding to calls for service after the crime occurs.

For more information

Please contact Communications Program Coordinator Sue Romero at sromero@kirklandwa.gov .