New Year’s is more than a month away, but it’s not too early for the Hermiston Police Department to be setting goals for 2014.

Chief Jason Edmiston said one of the most notable developments for next year will be the creation of a Street Crime Unit that will be exempt from responding to most types of calls for service.

“That will free up the majority of their time to be proactive instead of reactive,” Edmiston said.

While other patrol units respond to suspicious person reports and nuisance complaints the street crime unit will focus on “aggressive targeting of those persons choosing to adversely target our citizenry.” Edmiston said he doesn’t use words like “aggressive targeting” lightly but when it comes to chronic offenders and gang activity it is important to be proactive.

“I believe with the right controls in place with regard to supervision, we can operate in this manner while never compromising our integrity,” he wrote in an email accompanying the 2014 goals.

Last year the department’s goals for 2013 also included mention of gang suppression. Edmiston said one of the best ways to measure the amount of gang activity in a city is to look at graffiti, and Hermiston has seen a decrease in graffiti incidents this year.

In addition to the street crime unit, the department will also have a dedicated traffic unit that will primarily focus on Highway 395, which is where a majority of traffic complaints in Hermiston originate from.

Edmiston said the traffic unit was put into place as part of 2013’s goals — citizens may have noticed an officer on a motorcycle who seemed to always be writing tickets along 395. But the strategy hasn’t been fully implemented lately because the department has been down a couple of positions and the traffic officer has spent time back on regular patrol.

Still, Edmiston said once the final numbers come out for the year 2013, it looks like traffic citations will see a slight increase. He said having different officers focus specifically on crime investigations or traffic safety instead of trying to do it all equally seems to be paying off in increased effectiveness.

Hermiston’s police department has also set goals for making “livability issues” such as noise complaints and code enforcement of blighted areas a high priority. Edmiston said the department will also be emphasizing customer service, so citizens can expect more follow-up after calls for service.

———

Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.