Our mission at the Ukiah Police Department (UPD) is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. While our mission can be simply stated, keeping Ukiah safe in these complex times can be challenging.
To help us meet our goal of keeping Ukiah safe, we have adopted a long-term strategic plan called, Measuring What Matters Most. Our desire is to deliver quality police services, and to measure the delivery of these services through clearly defined performance measures that are affect both safety and quality of life in Ukiah.
Our five goals for the effective delivery of police services are:
• Reducing Crime and the Fear of Crime
• Improving the Quality of Life in Our Neighborhoods
• Enhancing Community and Police Partnerships
• Developing Personnel
• Continued Accountability
For our first goal (reducing crime), I am happy to report that in 2016 we reduced overall felony crimes in Ukiah by 5 percent, and we reduced traffic accidents by 18 percent. Our officers continued to perform far above state averages by solving 84 percent of the reported crimes against people in Ukiah, compared to the state average of only 47 percent.
The second goal of our strategic plan is to improve the quality of life within our neighborhoods, and during this last year we spent a significant amount of time working on this.
For more than a year now, our Crime Prevention Specialist has been hard at work with residents and businesses finding ways to prevent crimes, and in October we selected officers to work on a new Special Enforcement Team. Their mission is to reduce blight and address quality of life issues affecting our community. In just the first six months, this new Special Enforcement Team has already worked on 203 cases, disposing of more than 62 tons of debris in Ukiah.
But even with the great work our officers are doing, we know there is still much more to do.
Transients continue to cause significant problems in Ukiah. Many transients come here because of the marijuana industry and then stay because they say it’s easy to obtain welfare services. The problem is: once they are here, they often commit crimes that affect quality of life in our community.
To reduce the number of transients in Ukiah, our department is asking community members to stop being so generous–handouts enable transients to buy drugs and alcohol. Instead, if you’d like to help those who are homeless, consider giving to one of our wonderful community organizations serving the homeless.
Violent crime also continues to be a significant issue in our community. Recently, the State of California began reducing its state prison population through Realignment, a program that relocates state inmates to county jails. The Department of Corrections estimates that more than 70 percent of those in prison are involved with violent gangs, and it is these criminally sophisticated prisoners who are being released back to our local jails and into our communities.
To address these complex criminal issues, and a host of others, our department reviews its progress annually and develops a work plan for the coming year. This is really the core of our strategic planning process–reviewing what’s worked and what hasn’t, and developing a plan to address the crime trends in our community for next year. One of the most important parts of this process is working collaboratively with you, our community members, to make Ukiah safe.
Tomorrow night, May 12, we will present our performance report for 2016 to the Ukiah City Council and we invite you to attend. We will present our work in the five strategic goal areas and review last year’s progress, as well as presenting our work plan for the coming year.
As I said at the beginning, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.
By: Chris Dewey - Chief of Police