As of Thursday, March 17, 2016
FALLS CITY — With its options limited by financial constraints, Falls City may turn to its citizens to help fight crime in the city.
Law enforcement was the topic of Falls City’s monthly “town hall” meeting, where city leaders and citizens gather to talk about issues facing the community.
A number of creative ideas have been proposed, such as supporting legislation that would have the state pay for law enforcement in small communities or establishing an agreement with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to enforce city codes.
The main topic at the Feb. 23 meeting was more traditional.
What: Falls City town hall meeting about setting up a Neighborhood Watch program.
When: March 29 at 7 p.m.
Where: Falls City Community Center, 320 N. Main St., Falls City.
For more information: 503-787-3631.
“We had a pretty good turnout, and we discussed law enforcement issues, really focused on Neighborhood Watch,” said Mayor Terry Ungricht at Thursday’s Falls City City Council meeting. “The (Polk County) Sheriff’s Office is more than willing to set up a Neighborhood Watch, (and) do training.”
Neighborhood Watch is a program of the National Sheriff’s Association. It began in 1972 and trains citizens to work with police officers to report and prevent crime.
Ungricht said the option is effective and wouldn’t cost the city money.
“I think it’s an excellent way with our limited funds to build a relationship with the law enforcement agency,” he said.
The first thing needed are “block captains,” people willing to organize a watch in their area of town.
Ungricht said city employees wouldn’t have the time to recruit those volunteers and was hoping councilors would take on that role.
Councilor Jenn Drill wanted to take that a step further. She said the topic of this month’s town hall will be information about setting up a Neighbor Watch.
Drill asked that her fellow councilors and city staff help spread the word about the meeting.
“So we can kind of have a group discussion and maybe form something from that,” she said.
Prevention of crime wouldn’t the only positive outcome of the program, Ungricht said.
“It’s something to think about. I know we get a lot of law enforcement questions” he said. “This is a good way to partner up with our sheriff’s department, meeting and personalizing the officers who are out here. They are here to help us find solutions. They aren’t always the enemy.”
In other business, the council:
• Voted 3-2 to install three pet waste stations in city parks. The cost for each station will be $110.17.
• Voted to increase non-contracted bulk water sales rates to $5 per unit, bulk sale hookup fees to $80 and consolidate sewer hookup fees to one charge of $3,250.