REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s latest city budget includes two new law enforcement positions. Police Chief Dave Tarbet says one new patrol officer allows the department to maintain current staffing levels, given the city’s population growth. He tells KBND News, "In addition to that, the airport desired to have an officer out there fulltime." The new patrol position is paid for by the city's General Fund, while the airport officer comes from the airport's budget. Tarbet says, "With their funding [they] can fund an officer’s position."
The Redmond Airport has never before had a consistent police presence. But, given the level of growth, Tarbet says the position is now necessary to help his department maintain appropriate coverage across the city. "[The airport] continues to have more activity out there, and certainly the calls for service range from 200-300 per year. Those have been typically handled by officers out on patrol in the community, in general. So, when they get called out at the airport, it draws away from the community’s resources for law enforcement officers." According to the chief, calls at the airport are similar to those seen elsewhere in the city, "From intoxicated passengers that are disorderly and unruly on planes or in the terminal, we’ve had some thefts occur out there, some car break-ins over the years, we even, in the past year or so, had an attempted kidnapping out there."
Tarbet compares the position to a School Resource Officer, who is fully trained and sworn, but assigned to a specific location. He has already selected a senior officer to start July first, "To patrol the grounds and take calls out on airport properties, monitor the terminal activity, respond to TSA security violations, such as the dozen or so handguns that tend to get to the checkpoint and sent through the x-ray machine in checked baggage."
City Council also approved an additional patrol position for Redmond PD, but Tarbet says the department is still below the staffing he’d like. "Based on the population growth, we were trying to reach a level of 1.67 officers per thousand, or close to that. And presently, we are about 1.47." To get to that level, he says he’d need to hire three new patrol officers, then one a year if the city’s population continues to grow at its current pace.