Ensuring the safety of our residents is the number one responsibility of local government. This includes the Sheriff's Office, Prosecutor's Office, Superior and District Courts, County Clerk, and Office of Public Defense.
Councilmember Nehring has made public safety his top priority on the County Council. This means ensuring the law and justice system has the resources it needs to keep our streets safe and prosecuting wrongdoers.
In addition to traditional policing, Councilmember Nehring has supported efforts to combat the drug and opioid epidemic that has swept across the country. We know that many quality of life crimes involve drugs. Getting addicted individuals the help they need while holding them accountable for their actions is critical to our public safety efforts.
Read more about Councilmember Nehring's public safety priorities below.
Embedded Social Worker Program
In 2018, Snohomish County partnered with the Cities of Marysville and Arlington to launch the North County Law Enforcement Embedded Social Worker (LEESW) Program. This is a program that teams up law enforcement and social workers to go into homeless encampments and other problem areas to clean them up and get people the help they need.
This team utilizes the “carrot and stick” adage by offering housing and treatment services to drug addicted individuals backed up by enforcement by the police if they choose not to leave. We have found this approach to be effective in convincing otherwise addicted and homeless individuals to choose a better path and offer them the resources to get back on their feet.
In the first 3 years of the program, the Marysville ESW Team interacted with 258 new clients and in the first 2 years, the Arlington ESW Team interacted with 99 new clients. I look forward to seeing the continued success of this approach in the years to come.
Chronic Nuisance Ordinance
Chronic nuisance properties have significant public safety impacts on our neighborhoods and communities. These properties often attract illegal activity including drug use, property crime, and prostitution as well as unhealthy and unsafe conditions.
In 2018, Councilmember Nehring worked with the Sheriff's Office, Snohomish County Code Enforcement, and the Prosecutor's Office to develop a new designation of "chronic nuisance properties" and outline a process for dealing with them. Specifically, Ordinance 18-013 states that if there are four instances of criminal activity within 90 days or eight instances within 360 days, the property can be deemed a chronic nuisance. This designation is then followed by a process that requires the issues be addressed or mandatory abatement and associated fees and a lien placed against the property.
Data Collection Project
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and calls for the justice system to focus on social justice, Councilmember Nehring joined Councilmember Stephanie Wright and Prosecuting Attorney Adam Cornell in developing the concept and funding for a data collection project within the Snohomish County law and justice system.
This project will pull in data from law enforcement agencies, the Prosecutor's Office, Office of Public Defense, courts, and the county jail to allow policy makers and the public to observe trends and get a full picture of the justice system data. This information will help us see whether there are trends geographically, racially, or other metrics regarding how individuals are encountering the law and justice system.
The project has been in the works since 2021 and is expected to launch for the public in the fall of 2022.
In 2021, the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office began a pilot program for body-worn cameras for deputies. Body worn cameras help ensure accountability both for law enforcement and members of the public they come in contact with.
Expansion of the body-cam program is proposed in 2022 and 2023. This effort requires a large investment for both the purchase of the equipment and staff to process and store the footage.
There is broad support for body cams from law enforcement, elected officials, and members of the public.
Heroin Injection Site Ban
In September of 2017, Councilmember Nehring proposed, and the County Council passed, a moratorium on heroin injection sites in unincorporated Snohomish County. Heroin injection sites, often called "safe injection sites" are government funded facilities where drug addicts can get clean needles and a quiet place to "safely" get high.
There is nothing safe about using drugs and it is morally wrong for the government to encourage the use of illegal drugs. That is why Councilmember Nehring introduced the moratorium and the subsequent ban on heroin injection sites.
In 2018, the County Council adopted ordinance 18-014, permanently banning heroin injection sites in unincorporated Snohomish County. Councilmember Nehring was proud to lead this effort and encourage the county to pursue treatment and recovery for addicted individuals rather than following the path of failed policies led by other jurisdictions.
Rejecting Calls to "Defund the Police"
In 2020, when activists were calling for cuts to police funding following the murder of George Floyd, Councilmember Nehring stood strong in support of the Sheriff's Office and the men and women who keep us safe.
Despite the calls for "defunding the police", Snohomish County increased funding to the Sheriff's Office in 2021 and continues to make public safety investments a priority.
To report nuisance properties in your neighborhood, contact Snohomish County Code Enforcement, you can use this online form or call 425-388-3650. For more information about reporting code violations, you can read more at this link.
To contact the Sheriff's Office in non-emergency situations, you can call 425-407-3999. In case of emergency, call 9-11.