At the request of business owners, the Olympia City Council has unanimously approved funding to keep the Police Department’s nighttime downtown walking patrol on the streets through the holidays.
From May through October, two officers were temporarily assigned to the nighttime walking patrol. The officers supplemented the daytime walking patrol during the summer months when downtown Olympia typically attracts more visitors and more disorderly activity.
The nighttime patrol covered an additional 10-hour shift from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.
A handful of downtown business owners told the council Tuesday that the nighttime patrol increases the area’s overall sense of safety, which then encourages more families to shop downtown and attend events.
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“The evening walking patrol has been such a great success for everybody in downtown Olympia,” said Mary Corso, chairwoman of the Parking and Business Improvement Area, a self-taxing district with about 435 business owners. “We implore the city to keep it up.”
Police Chief Ronnie Roberts told The Olympian he expects the nighttime patrol to resume this week. The estimated cost for the extra patrol is about $20,000.
The funding comes from “council goal money,” which is set aside as part of the city’s operating budget for the council to use at its discretion.
No decision has been made about continuing the nighttime patrol into 2016, but the city is in the process of finalizing next year’s budget.