A Federal Way Police Department vehicle. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Federal Way Police to conduct emphasis patrols to mitigate recent rise in violent crime

Extra patrols to last for 90 day period near Pacific Highway South, Westway neighborhood

Federal Way has recently seen an uptick in violent gun crimes, prompting the City Council to approve emphasis patrol funding.

The emphasis patrols will focus on the areas of Pacific Highway South and the Westway neighborhood among others, said Deputy Chief Steve Neal on July 20. Extra patrols serve to mitigate the types of crimes which have recently increased, such as shootings and homicides.

Approving the $216,000 funding from the city’s general fund provides the police department with overtime resources to staff four officers at eight-hour shifts for seven days a week. The emphasis patrol will last a 90-day period and would supplement current patrol efforts, Neal said.

“I think the crime rate that is going on now, the mayor and the council, you have to respond quickly before the citizens start screaming,” said Ade Ariwoola, finance director for the city. “The kind of shooting we’ve seen in the last few months, I’m sorry, it is ridiculous.”

The funding is a proactive effort and is available, he said.

Federal Way had five shootings between July 6-11, one of which was fatal. Police found 44-year-old Fanta “Nawher” Dolley had been shot and killed in her apartment doorway on July 8.

“I think it would have a significant impact,” Neal said. “When something flares up to this magnitude — this is serious — we are going to do what we need to during a period of time to do it.”

The emphasis patrol funding was unanimously approved by the City Council.

Body-worn cameras

Earlier in the meeting, the council unanimously approved the use of red-light camera reserves to pay for the city’s incoming body-worn camera program.

Federal Way’s police force will be equipped with 143 cameras — 137 officers, two animal services officers and four jail transport officers.

The city expects implementation of the body-worn camera program to cost a total of $942,761 in the first year, which includes staffing costs.

For the personnel costs, the city will hire an attorney with a salary of $143,000, an additional information technology employee for $97,000, and one additional public records coordinator with a $85,000 salary

At the July 20 meeting, Ariwoola outlined the 2021 costs which total $669,995.

The Red Light/School Zone Speed Photo Enforcement 2020 Annual Report shows 20,756 red light citations were issued and 3,172 school zone citations were issued. In 2019, over 11,000 school zone citations were issued.

The City Council approved $700,000 of red light reserve to fund the body-camera program.

An additional $40,000 was approved to fund center delineators along Pacific Highway South near SW 374th Street to north of S. 373rd Street, where three fatalities occurred within one week in June.

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