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Second Crime Watch meeting held
A crack down on drug dealing and home break-ins is showing results in Forks.
The report was given second during second meeting in the City of Forks Crime Watch series. The community anti-crime gathering was held on Monday evening, Sept. 17 at the Forks Elks Lodge.
Mayor Bryon Monohon and Forks Police Advisor/Administrator Rick Bart led the meeting, which was attended by about 70 local residents and ran from 7:00 to about 8:30 p.m. Councilman Kevin Hinchen and City of Forks Attorney/Planner Rod Fleck also attended the meeting, as well as Forks Police Department officers.
A third and final meeting in the series is scheduled for Monday evening Oct. 15. The meetings have been planned to take place of off weeks for the Forks City Council.
Bart said his department is receiving info from the public that is helping to combat drug dealing in Forks. “People are coming in and talking,” Bart reported. He said such help from the public wasn’t forthcoming in the past.
We warned that kids and drugs are a serious problem in Forks. “Meth is available for children in town,” he said. He said his officers are finding illicit drug use of black tar heroin, oxycontin pills, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs. Prescription pain killers are among the items stolen during home break-ins, Bart said, as they are easily transportable and some pain pills can be sold on the street for as much as $30 per pill. “Prescription medicine is a big problem,” he said.
“It’s pretty easy to sell drugs in town because everyone knows each other,” he said, with drug dealers and drug buyers being able to know who to seek drugs from, while being able to avoid undercover sale by narcotics officers or local residents who might turn them in.
Medical marijuana card holders have also been spotted dealing marijuana to non-card holders.
He said the FPD is working closely with the public schools in Forks on attacking drug abuse by students. He suggested that some students undertake their senior project with a drug education theme of “Don’t meth around.”
We need to “send message loud and clear we don’t want it in town,” Bart said in asking those attending the gathering to help eradicate the drug abuse problem in cooperation with the Forks Police Department.
The wave of burglaries has ebbed, too, Bart reported. “The big crunch of burglaries seems to be over,” he told the gathering.
A full company of six officers has now been hired, with former FPD officer Perez returning to his post, Bart said. He said Perez returned to duty without requiring additional training.
To kick off the meeting Monohon broke down the sources and number of 911 calls coming into the Forks Police Department over a recent 13-day period. The total of 220 calls included four calls to report a burglary and 10 thefts. The mayor said the high number reflects how busy Forks police officers are as they follow up on the calls.
Pastor Jim Chase of the Forks Assembly of God was introduced as the new chaplain for the police department. Former police chaplain Joe Pursley recently completed police academy training on his way to becoming a Clallam County Sheriff’s Office deputy patrolling on the West End.
An update on the Neighborhood Watch program was given. The group has a goal of having a Neighborhood Watch committee in each neighborhood within the city limits of Forks. The Facebook page used to give warnings about break-ins and other crimes and to help organize the local neighborhood watch program now has 527 group members. At the meeting forms to be used by neighborhood watch groups was handed out including an activity log, detailed instructions on how to start up a group plus instructions on how best to use 911 to report a crime. A group in the Sherwood Forest subdivision is the furthest along in organizing, and an aerial map of Sherwood Forest provided by the City of Forks was displayed. Training is to begin soon for that area.
FPD email tip line
Forks Police officers told the gathering that sending in crime tips and questions to the department’s email address ( email@example.com )was a direct way to connect with the officers. Officer Gentry said he and other officers regularly check the tip line email box, though sometimes it might be 24 hours or more between their shifts when questions directed at individual officers are responded to. He emphasized that in emergencies local residents should always call the 911 dispatch phone number. The phone tip line is 374-5311.