District 5· Problem Oriented Public Safety
The State Patrol’s style of community policing is called Problem Oriented Public Safety, or POPS. The foundation of POPS is based on a philosophy of taking the concerns of the motoring public by addressing persistent problems. When a problem is identified by a citizen, trooper, or anyone with a concern, the POPS trooper works with other agencies and groups to develop the best achievable solution to address the origin of the problem. Solutions to various problems may range from simply educating the public to major construction projects.
Projects and Successes
Rest Area Enforcement Project
Troopers in District 5 responded to citizen concerns of threatening and harmful activities occurring in the Gee Creek and Toutle Hill rest areas. A Criminal Interdiction Patrol responded, addressing all concerns. Multiple divisions within the Washington State Patrol participated. Several arrests occurred for violations including prostitution and selling undercover officers drugs. Many arrests involved persons from out of state in travel status, including a male elementary school teacher patronizing a male prostitute. Post-analysis of complaints following application of the Criminal Interdiction Patrols show the troopers' efforts are being successful in reducing the numbers of complaints and fears by citizens in the rest areas.
State Route 503
In March of 2002, residents of the North Clark County area (Battle Ground, Amboy, Yacolt, Farger Lake, Chelatchie Prairie) met with officials from the Washington State Patrol and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) regarding traffic problems in north Clark County.
Residents voiced complaints about dangerous speeding, bad passing, and general aggressive driving during the morning and evening rush hours as well as similar complaints about the summer weekend recreational traffic. They did not feel the WSP was spending enough time enforcing traffic laws in the area. They requested WSDOT consider engineering improvements that would help improve driving conditions and reduce violations.
As a result, the WSP stopped 971 violators from March through December 2002, as compared to 185 violators during the same time period in 2001. Based on surveys filled out by the community, after the enforcement efforts had been in place for the ten-month period, there was a 26% reduction in the number of people who felt excessive speed was a problem. There was a 42% decrease in the number of people who felt the WSP did not spend enough time working the area and 83% of those polled now feel the WSP will respond to their calls for service.
This was a classic example of how the WSP listens to it customers, responds to their needs, and "makes a difference every day by providing public safety services to everyone where they live, work, travel, and play."
Chain Enforcement on White Pass
The project started in November 2002 and is a partnership with the WSP Morton Detachment, Department of Transportation, and WSP Commercial Vehicle Division. Together, they have set up a schedule to provide maximum coverage during snow storms and establish a "zero tolerance" policy toward chain-up violations. Already there has been a noticeable decline in the number of large trucks stuck on the pass. As of date, there have been no significant traffic delays on White Pass.