Support Proposition A for a safer community | GUEST OP

Kent needs additional police officers to put it in line with other local cities

  • Friday, March 2, 2018 9:12am
  • Opinion

The Kent Chamber of Commerce supports the city of Kent Proposition A: Yes for a Safer Kent.

On the April 24 ballot, voters of Kent will have the opportunity to vote to approve a 2 percent increase in their utility tax. This tax increase funds additional police officers and criminal justice services in Kent, and would authorize the city to levy a 2 percent utility tax increase, from 6 to 8 percent on electricity, gas, and telephone and cable television utility rates.

The mission of the Kent Police Department is to aggressively fight crime while serving with compassion. Our residents and businesses deserve the highest quality of service to keep them safe and address quality of life issues.

These funds will be segregated and dedicated exclusively for public safety purposes and accounted for separately from other city funds. The chamber, as an organization, has also been assured that money currently going to fund the police from the general fund will not be supplanted – pulling dollars that have originally been allocated to police to then fund other areas of city services. It is because of these assurances that the chamber is comfortable in support of Proposition A.

Currently the Kent Police Department has the lowest ratio of officers per 1,000 residents as compared to other cities in the Puget Sound Region. If the voters pass this utility tax increase, we will see additional officers being phased in over a three-year period that will put us at a rate of 1.4 officers per 1,000 residents. This increase in officers will put Kent in line with Auburn and Federal Way but still below the officer rates of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett.

The safety of our residents, employees and businesses is incredibly important to the economic growth, vitality and prosperity of Kent. We urge you to support and vote yes on the City of Kent Proposition A.

Andrea Keikkala is CEO of the Kent Chamber of Commerce. You can reach her at andreak@kentchamber.com, or 253-854-1770, ext. 140.

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