Port Townsend ad hoc committee hears police statistics

Stats on call assists, arrests by race presented

PORT TOWNSEND — Between 2017 and 2019, officers with the Port Townsend Police Department made 934 arrests of 619 unique individuals, and of them, 91.28 percent were white, 3.72 percent were Black, 2.1 percent were unknown, 1.29 percent were American Indian/Alaskan Native, 1.29 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander and 0.32 percent were Hispanic or Latino, according to statistics provided to the Ad Hoc committee on Public Safety and Law Enforcement.

City Attorney Heidi Greenwood, with the assistance of interim Port Townsend Police Chief Troy Surber, on Monday presented the statistics to answer questions that committee members asked after a presentation about policing from Surber at the end of June.

Greenwood clarified that there may be discrepancies in the race reporting, as the data is gathered from observations and self-reporting by those arrested.

Port Townsend’s population is 93.52 percent white; 2.41 percent Asian; 1.76 percent two or more races; 1.29 percent Black; 1 percent Native American; and 0.02 percent Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, according to World Population Review.

The ad hoc committee is made up of the entire City Council, making it a committee of the whole, which meets virtually on the last Monday of each month through December.

No action is taken during committee meetings, as action can be taken only during designated council meetings.

The council had agreed June 29 to form the committee to investigate policing following protests of police brutality in the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the creation of a Black Lives Matter mural in Port Townsend for a Juneteenth commemoration that drew more than 1,000 people.

The police department assisted other agencies on 1,244 calls from 2017-19, Greenwood said.

In a random sample of 30 of the calls, 15 were assisting or assisted by East Jefferson Fire Rescue, four were to assist county sheriff’s departments, four were to assist State Patrol, two were for other municipal police departments and one incident each for assisting Adult Protective Services, Child Protective Services and the state Department of Corrections.

PTPD arrested 43 juveniles between the ages of 12 and 17 during the three years, with 10 of them being warrant arrests, and the three most common charges filed for juveniles were minor in possession, assault and theft, Greenwood said.

Weapons that PTPD commissioned officers are issued are a Glock 9mm pistol, a patrol rifle, a Taser, pepper spray and an extendable baton, Greenwood said.

The committee is slated to discuss alternatives to law enforcement during its next meeting at 5 p.m. on Sept. 28.

The full Monday night meeting can be viewed at tinyurl.com/PDN-AdHocMeeting.


Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 360-385-2335, ext. 5.

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