Extra patrols by Tualatin police have yielded 22 arrests in the last two months

TUALATIN - Over the next two weeks, Tualatin police will be targeting different neighborhoods with extra patrols to target drug-dealing and transient problems.

As Tualatin's Operation Wipe Out winds down, city councilors are pleased with the overall results of the 60-day pilot project. The graffiti-targeting program has in the last two months led to the issuance of 50 citations, 19 vehicles towed, 22 arrests and 115 field interviews, according to Police Chief Kent Barker.

'Blown-away pleased,' said Council President Ed Truax during Monday's council meeting. In May, the council declared war on graffiti and taggers and authorized funding for extra patrolling by officers and for the Operations Department to take on cleaning up graffiti off of private property.

Until Truax commented that he saw a graffiti spot Monday night, the city's Operations Department had reportedly gone 10 days without a graffiti report.

And the pilot program has apparently done more than just remove graffiti.

Barker described gang activity as coming to a 'screeching halt' in the city. However, a few problem areas have popped up.

According to Barker, the police department will be using extra patrols over the next two weeks to target areas where residents have been complaining of transients and drug activity.

Sgt. Royanne Mathiesen, of the department's Community Response Unit, is certain that the extra patrols put on the streets during Operation Wipe Out have led to an increased dialogue between concerned residents and police.

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