Monday, February 5, 2018

Thank you for coming to "Coffee with a Cop"

Wonderful turnout for "Coffee with a Cop." started out with 30 people and ended up with over 40. Thank you all for supporting our local sheriffs!

Captain Gordon Phillips has been a deputy for over 27 years.  He answered questions members of our community had about fences, weapons, mail theft, how to report a tip or situation in our neighborhoods.  

He fielded questions about standards for becoming a sheriff.  The standards are high, yet there are many jobs available for people who can't pass the physical to become a deputy.  

Sheriff John Snaza shared details about the Thurston County Sheriffs Department (TCSC).  Both John and Gordon started out as reserve deputies, which is done on a volunteer basis.  You can't tell a reserve officer from a regular, paid deputy.  This is a demanding, volunteer position, so it can be very demanding on family life to be a reserve officer while working a full time job to support your family. 
  • The (TCSC) serves Rainier, Bucoda, Rochester and Tenino (after hours).  
  • They respond to 1600 - 1700 calls in Rainier alone every year.  
  • Rainier pays yearly for the service of 2 deputies.  
  • Thurston County has the same number of sheriffs as they did in 1995.
  • The population has increased by over 100,000 people since 1995.
  • It takes on average 
  • 11 minutes and 32 seconds for a sheriff to respond to an "in progress call."
  • There are only 7 sheriffs on duty in the morning, only 8 during the middle of the day to cover all of Thurston County.  This is why response time isn't instantaneous.
  • The (TCSC) refunds money not spent on the cities they serve.  This year Rochester will receive a refund of $12,000 and Rainier will receive $9,000.
  • There are 11 Police Academy classes every year.  The TCSD has six people waiting to go to the academy.   It is hard to recruit new deputies.
  • Deputies on the TCSD are volunteers in their communities.  They are ministers, coaches and do a lot of other community service work.
  • Law enforcement officers are more trustworthy than clergy.  Only one half of one percent deviate from the high standards set by their departments.
The new jail for Thurston County is open.  It was full to capacity after the second month of operation.  They have 408 beds and need 120 more beds, because violent offenders and people with mental health problems have to be in cells by themselves.  About 50% of prisoners have mental health problems, while 70% of prisoners have a drug problem.

Overflow prisoners go to jails in other counties.  Each county has different training and standards.  Thurston County no longer sends prisoners to the Nisqually jail.  The Nisqually Reservation is a Sovereign Nation and they can't be sued, but Thurston County could be sued.  The TCSD is hoping to pay for more beds in their new jail with a bond.  

A special "Thank You" to Captain Gordon Phillips, Sheriff John Snaza and everyone who attended "Coffee with a Cop" today!  We will do this again, soon!

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