Forum panel shares the challenges of meeting the needs of a growing population
A panel made up of Washington County DA Kevin Barton, Sheriff Pat Garrett, Tigard Police Chief Kathy McAlpine, and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Chief Deric Weiss took to the WEA Breakfast Forum stage in February to talk about the Westside's first responders and impacts on the judicial system.
Judge Oscar Garcia moderated the program and provided his perspective too.
The different agencies represented talked about the challenges of meeting the needs of a growing and diverse population.
Barton talked about how all of the agencies represented on stage work together to protect and serve the public.
He used the example of the shooting near Hagg Lake about a year ago, where all of the agencies responded and worked together in apprehending the suspect and saving the life of two officers who were shot.
Garcia said his concern is the need for more judges.
He compared how Multnomah County has 38 judges, and Washington County has 15.
Garrett said the challenge his department faces is in recruiting staff.
He also talked about the importance of being accessible and transparent, which the other panelists agreed with.
Weiss said his agency responds to the feedback it receives, and said if something is wrong, they work to change and if it's right, they work to explain it.
He also talked about the importance of training the next generation of leaders and recruiting the right people.
He said, "It's about the people and the culture they create."
McAlpine also shared concerns about staffing and said a lot of Tigard's calls are about crisis - mental health, and homeless, domestic violence.
These calls tie up staffing for a significant time and decrease those officers who are able to respond to other calls.
The panel also covered data and technology's affect on their work, and Garrett also talked about the positive effect educational programs have on whether felons end up back in jail or not.
To see a video of the program, visit the Oregon Sheriff Office's Facebook page.