CORVALLIS, Ore. – Voters passed Measure 02-86, a levy that will not only keep the Osborn Aquatic Center and the Chintimini Senior Center open, but it will also fund four new police officers.
Voters narrowly passed the measure by about 500 votes. Tax payers will spend about $17 million for a five-year period. Property owners of homes valued at $150,000 will pay approximately $123 extra a year for the levy.
“We haven’t seen an increase in staffing since 1993,” said Captain Dave Henslee with the Corvallis Police Department. “And as our community has continued to grow, our law enforcement staff has not grown with that level of the population.”
Right now, the Police Department has 28 police officers assigned to patrol.
“I would always prefer to have more police officers there in case there’s a situation,” said Corvallis resident Rebecca Fredlund.
Now that the levy has passed in Corvallis, the department is getting four more officers.
“This is an exciting time for us,” Henslee said. “We see this as a great opportunity for the City of Corvallis Police Department to provide a much better and a much more whole service to the community.”
The new patrol officers are not going to be just responding to crime.
“This really allows us to focus on education, it allows us to focus on prevention, and mitigate problems on a long-term basis,” Henslee said.
The officers will be working in the community: one will be in schools as a resource officer, the other three will work with neighborhoods throughout Corvallis to try to prevent crime.
“We don’t want our youth in the community to see us as just enforcement,” Henslee said. “We want them to recognize us as a resource to them and a partner in the community.”
Henslee says the three community officers will be a team to promote livability in the community. They will work with neighborhoods to determine what nuisances they face, such as noise, fights, disorderly conduct, or parties. Next, they will create action plans to prevent these crimes.
Fredlund says she thinks tax dollars funding public safety enforcement is important, but she likes that the Corvallis Police Department will be also working on prevention efforts.
“I’m a big advocate of education,” Fredlund said. “So I believe awareness is the first step of making people more aware of their situations and maybe even tips to help them keep safe.”