Ask the Undersheriff: Communication is key to success

January 8, 2019

It seems like 2018 came and went in a blink of an eye, and now we’re ushering in 2019 with excitement and new challenges.

The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office has a new sheriff, Don McDermott, who brings with him a strong sense of community and a strengthened community block watch approach.

We are committed to reducing crime in Skagit County, and we will not be able to do that without the support of our communities. We have used block watch for community meetings for several years, and it has been a successful avenue to reach out to share information.

Communication is the greatest asset we have. While there are times we cannot solve your issue, we will communicate with you and help come up with solutions.

In 2018, members of the Sheriff’s Office attended 14 meetings throughout the county. We generally met in reference to high crime areas and to help those communities use crime prevention techniques.

It is our goal for 2019 to be out talking to communities several times a month to ensure we are staying connected. You are truly our eyes and ears.

I’ve been asked repeatedly by block-watch groups and citizens about when they should call 911 for something they observed.

If you see something in your neighborhood that is out of place, call us so we can come out and take a look. Your community is your place of expertise.

A deputy patrolling through your community as a “police presence” doesn’t necessarily know the habits of your neighbors. For example, if your neighbor always has his car in his driveway at 9 a.m and moves it at 10 a.m., a sheriff’s deputy likely won’t know that.

Last week, I received a call about a possible neighborhood problem. The caller was concerned about a neighbor who had multiple cars coming and going at their home all day and night.

The caller described the visits as short stays where people would sometimes park, leave their car running and enter the house for a couple of minutes before leaving. This practice is associated with residents who are selling drugs.

We are always interested in hearing about these concerns so our patrol deputies and Pro-Act team can address the issue. We also work closely with our local drug task force for issues pertaining to possible drug houses.

I encourage you to note any unusual occurrences in your community and compare notes with your neighbors. The Sheriff’s Office wants to help you and your community, but if we don’t know there is a problem, it will be an uphill battle to resolve it.

Please send me an email so we discuss options for crime prevention in your community. I am also available to come to your community.

— Chad Clark is the undersheriff for the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office. Send questions to askpatrolchief@gmail.com.

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