Statement from Mayor Greg Wheeler on Enhancing Safety in the Downtown Core and Throughout the City
Mayor Greg Wheeler announced today a number of steps that are being put in place to expand safety in the downtown core, including area public parking garages. In response to a recent incident in the Washington Avenue parking garage currently under investigation by Bremerton Police, the City has been making downtown safety improvements.
“Safety remains a top priority for the City of Bremerton and we have put in place increased security measures for the downtown area,” said Mayor Wheeler.
As part of added measures downtown, the City has moved a second Bremerton Police car to patrol downtown and the public parking garages. In the next few days, the City of Bremerton will also be activating citizen patrols to begin walking blocks downtown and to conduct drive-through checks of public parking garages. These individuals will serve as extra eyes and ears to report suspicious activity directly to local police. Additionally, the City of Bremerton is coordinating its contract to expand private security services to patrol the City’s various buildings, parking lots, and the three parking garages. The patrols are at random times and occur both during the day and at night. We’re currently working with the private security firm to review options to increase patrols for these facilities.
In addition to the above, there are several improvements for safety that were approved in the 2022 budget for the City of Bremerton or have already been in the works. These include:
- Adding 5 new City police officers – Approved in the 2022 budget, we will be adding to our directed enforcement teams, including bike patrols, in the next year to help prevent and respond to incidents across the City as part of our long-term efforts to improve safety.
- Lighting improvements downtown – the City is completing a street and sidewalk lighting improvement project, which will wrap up in 2022. This will be the last year of a multi-year program to improve lighting for vehicles and pedestrians in the downtown area.
- Lighting improvements in parking garages – The goal of these improvements is to improve lighting at the pay stations, entryways, and stairwells. We’re prioritizing these improvements for the Washington Avenue and Park Avenue Plaza parking garages, which is expected to be completed in early in 2022.
- Security camera improvements in the parking garages – the City will be replacing the existing camera system in the Washington Avenue parking garage. We’re currently ordering the cameras and other equipment, and we will install as soon as they’re available. When completed, this project will more than double the number of existing cameras in the Washington Avenue garage, offer better resolution for recording and provide remote video access.
- Improved facility maintenance and regular cleaning – with the 2022 budget, the City Council authorized a new position which will allow increased cleaning frequency of parking facilities, along with our ability to respond to complaints. The position has been advertised and we are evaluating candidates. The goal is to have the position filled in early 2022.
- Adding 2 behavioral health professionals – Included in the 2022 budget, these specialists will respond to mental health incidents in the City.
- Continuing of Intelligence-Led Policing initiative – This effort has been in place for the past few years in the City and uses crime analysis technology to discover and address crime trends.
- Assessing 911 kiosks – We are currently looking into emergency 911 kiosks to see if they may be viable for the City.
“We are committed to improving safety in the City. Over the past several years, my administration has focused on making needed safety updates and we will continue to invest in improvements to serve our residents, local neighborhoods and business districts across our community,” said Mayor Wheeler.