Local Police Force See New Resources Amidst Local Crime

Lillian Nierhake, Kaitlyn Loehr, Faith Simon, and Rebecca Nelson

A series of shootings in the Burlington area late last year have sparked a conversation about the safety of the communities in Skagit County.
Sedro-Woolley has recently taken steps to improve their police force and therefore the safety of the town. Proposition one, which was passed by 51 percent of voters last November, is a public safety levy that will grant the Sedro-Woolley Police Department funding needed to fill more positions.
Sedro-Woolley Police Chief Lin Tucker believes that the crime in Sedro-Woolley equates to other towns of similar population.
“It’s about like everywhere else. We’ve got our own problems,” said Tucker, who believes that lack of resources has been the force’s biggest hurdle in providing for citizens. “The hardest part of the job is not having enough to do what we would like to do.”
Proposition one will allow the force to hire on three new police officers, a designated “records person,” and a resource officer who will be stationed at Sedro-Woolley High School.
According to Sedro-Woolley City Council Member Germaine Kornegay, shootings and gang related incidents are the type of crimes that are escalating within Sedro-Woolley.
Kornegay also mentioned that she likes to go on ride-alongs with the Sedro-Woolley Police Department and likes to be alerted about what goes on in the community.
“I really like doing the ride alongs because sometimes you don’t see what’s going on until you actually talk to the person who deals with what is going on,” said Kornegay.
Students are affected by local violence or violence in general because it’s the environment they’re in. It’s the reality they live with and it affects the way they think, act, and feel. Last December the Burlington-Edison High School went on lockdown after a shooting only blocks away left one dead.
“[I felt] safe, but still on edge waiting for anything to happen,” said BEHS sophomore Caleb Cox. He mentioned that the school felt safe because of their heavy doors and staff.
Local police work to keep a variety of dangerous crime in check. “We have several types of violence ranging from family violence, drug related violence, mental health related violence, and gang violence,” said Eddie Rogge, Police Chief of Burlington Police Department.
Local violence is affecting our towns in Skagit County, and it is hitting the youth of these towns the hardest. “I would say a great deal of the serious youth violence stems from local gangs. I have seen many juveniles injured and some killed from this senseless gang involvement,” said Rogge.
Sedro-Woolley and Burlington are both dealing with similar issues and are working together to seek a safer community.
“The Burlington Police Department and Sedro-Woolley Police Department have a very good working relationship,“ said Rogge. They plan to continue to work together when they have the same problem to help combat violence in Skagit County and maintain a safe environment.
“I believe the only way to stop the gang violence is to invest in our youth,” said Rogge. “We need to be involved in the teenage youth that are in the age and risk category that gravitate toward the gang ‘family.’ This would reduce the younger kids joining gangs and eventually reduce the number of gangs and related violence.”