Cops reach out to community

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Richard Byrd/Columbia Basin Herald Chief Kevin Fuhr speaks to a crowd gathered at El Sendero Life Center in Moses Lake last week.

MOSES LAKE — Chief Kevin Fuhr and the Moses Lake Police Department held a successful first neighborhood outreach meeting at El Sendero Life Center last week.

Keeping in tune with the MLPD’s goal in 2018 of focusing a little bit more on community outreach, the department has made it a priority to schedule neighborhood meetings, like the one at El Sendero, throughout the year with the help of the Moses Lake Ministerial Association.

The outreach at El Sendero was well attended by members of the church, as well as people who live in the Peninsula neighborhood. The event, in some respects, resembled a town hall meeting. Fuhr, along with a hoard of officers and MLPD staff, were on hand for people to interact with, get to know and establish a relationship with.

Fuhr, with the help of a Spanish speaking MLPD officer, took time to educate the group of around 80 people about the many things the department does, including outreaches/community events, the organizational structure of the department itself and the department’s core values. Fuhr took extra time to encourage attendees to attend the upcoming multi-agency Citizen’s Academy and the importance of establishing a Neighborhood Watch.

There was also a question and answer period where attendees were given the opportunity to ask the chief a variety of questions. With the news cycle being dominated by school safety in the wake of a shooting at a high school in Florida, Fuhr spend considerable time explaining what his department is doing to prevent school shootings.

“Unfortunately this is a topic we see quite a bit in the news. We work with the schools, the school resource officers train school employees. We work with the school administration to give the best practices we can to keep the schools safe,” Fuhr told the crowd.

Fuhr explained there currently is not a hotline that people can call if they suspect a person is planning, talking about or hinting about a shooting at one of the local schools. The chief encouraged everyone in the room at El Sendero to contact MACC Dispatch or the school district if they have any of those suspicions about a student or community member.

“That happens with us occasionally. We will get a referral from somebody who will say, ‘hey somebody is posting on social media that’s somewhat alarming.’ And then the SRO’s (School Resource Officers) will reach out to the kid, they will reach out to the parents, they will see what is going on. See what the posts are. And then they will take whatever action they need to take based on the information that they have.”

“You can always call the police department anonymously and give information.”

Fuhr also fielded questions about the biggest crime problems in the city, as well as gangs. Future neighborhood meetings in Moses Lake are being scheduled and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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