Editorial

July 5, 2013

By Staff

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Full-time detective is good for Newcastle

At the June 4 City Council meeting, City Manager Rob Wyman announced that Newcastle’s preliminary 2013 population was up to 10,640.

Just a short time later, the council took a significant step toward improving the public safety of those residents by directing Wyman to bump the city’s half-time detective to full time next year.

Given that Newcastle is the only King County partner city without its own full-time detective, this move was long overdue, and quite welcome.

In 2012, the city saw an increase in crime, particularly burglaries. The cases closed by arrest improved though, thanks largely to Detective Christy Marsalisi, according to Newcastle Police Chief Melinda Irvine.

After joining Newcastle in 2011, the city increased Marsalisi to a 50-50 shared detective for 2013, meaning she spends half her time working Newcastle cases and the other half working for areas of unincorporated King County.

“I think we’re seeing a great benefit of having an increased detective and I think the benefit will only continue,” Irvine said.

The expectation is that once Marsalisi has the opportunity to focus solely on Newcastle crimes, the cases closed by arrest will accordingly increase. When criminals see that they will pay for their indiscretions in Newcastle, hopefully they will think twice about committing crimes here.

As Councilman John Dulcich eloquently put it at the June 4 meeting, maybe this move makes “Newcastle, in thieves’ minds, become Notcastle.”

The June 4 decision is just an initial step in improving the city’s public safety. As Newcastle continues to grow, the City Council must take a hard look at whether its small staff of officers is enough to serve the growing population.

The day is coming when a police chief, six officers and one detective may not be enough to ensure this city’s public

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