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Public safety levy critical to Forest Grove

One of the things that make me proudest of being mayor of Forest Grove is how safe our community is to live in. Many cities in our region are not as fortunate.

Just about every night I watch the evening news and for the first 15 minutes, I listen to all of the awful crimes that happened that day around our region.

In Forest Grove, due to our aggressive approach to crime and the fact that we have an adequate level of police service, we don't make the news very often.

A big part of our success is due to the fact that the citizens of Forest Grove have been willing to support the previous levy to help fund the services necessary to keep our community safe.

Only four years ago, we had 14 known methamphetamine houses in our community. Because of the passage of the public safety levy in 2002, we were able to add staff to help eradicate all of the known meth houses in our community.

In 2006, our officers responded to 27,000 incidents that occurred within our area. Many of these incidents weren't serious, but, as part of an effective community policing program, we need to be timely and attentive. You never know what kind of call will come in next, or from where.

Having a top notch department, with adequate staff to respond when a critical call comes in is a vital part of having an effective public safety program.

This is true for both police and fire services. The current levy also allowed the city to fund two new firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician positions.

This is critical because the additional personnel allow us to respond to two emergency fire calls at once, a situation which arose 317 times last year. Our fire department responded to 2,387 calls last year within our area, with 69 percent of them being medical emergencies using our EMT resources.

On Nov. 7 I hope voters will help us maintain the present level of public safety services by supporting Measure 34-135. This measure will allow us as a community to maintain, not increase, our present level of public safety services.

Without passage of this measure, we will be forced to reduce services. We would appreciate voter support, so that we can continue to keep our community as a safe, wonderful place to live, learn, work and play.

Richard Kidd is mayor of Forest Grove