Police chief wants specifics on downtown

He says generalized complaints about Olympia don’t help, cites positive steps

rboone@theolympian.comJanuary 28, 2014 

Olympia area state Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-22nd, has floated the idea this legislative session which would hand over its ownership and operation in downtown Olympia from Washington state to the city.

STEVE BLOOM

Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts delivered an upbeat message to the Olympia Downtown Association on Monday night, appearing at the group’s annual meeting to talk about the work being done to address public safety concerns.

Members of the association, which promotes downtown life, including events it stages throughout the year, gathered in the lobby of The Washington Center for the Performing Arts for the meeting.

Roberts’ remarks come at a time when heroin use is on the rise, and discarded needles can sometimes be found downtown.

But he checked off a number of steps taken to improve Olympia’s downtown experience, including recent passage of a public safety levy, two walking patrol officers, the creation of an alcohol impact area and plans for emphasis patrols.

He also asked those in attendance, including many business owners, to give police specific information about problems or incidents downtown, rather than general complaints.

“We are data driven,” he told the audience, adding later that “there are a lot of (crime-fighting programs) going on, and more than when I came here.”

As part of the annual meeting, the ODA also announced several awards.

Here are the winners for 2014:

 • Person of the Year: Kevin Stormans, co-owner of the Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway stores. Stormans was unable to attend Monday’s meeting. In prepared remarks, ODA board president Jerry Farmer, who won the award last year, said Stormans “serves his community with warmth, with dignity and with unshakable conviction.”

 • Business of the Year: Heritage Bank.

 • Volunteer of the Year: Kernie Moeller, a longtime volunteer who has worked with the ODA since 1998.

The ODA also said goodbye to three longtime board members: Stormans and downtown business owners Jeanne Carras and Jeff Trinin.

ODA Executive Director Connie Lorenz said all three were on the board when she was hired in 1998.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

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