The Gig Harbor Police Department filled a position vacant since August with the hire of Officer Michael Clabaugh, who started with the department at the beginning of the month.
Clabaugh is third-generation law enforcement — his grandfather is retired from the Tacoma Police Department and two of his uncles are in law enforcement — and worked previously at two agencies in Montana and at Pierce Transit, said Gig Harbor Police Chief Kelly Busey.
“Michael has been very impressive to us,” Busey said. “He has always presented himself very professionally.”
Mayor Jill Guernsey administered the Oath of Office to Clabaugh at Monday’s City Council meeting, after which his mother, Mary Ann Clabaugh, pinned on his badge.
Fircrest police officer Pete Joyce — Clabaugh’s uncle and a law enforcement officer for 31 years — gave a brief speech for the family, also noting that Clabaugh’s grandfather retired at the rank of captain and his mother has worked 24 years for the finance department at the Tacoma PD.
“Mike comes from a law enforcement family. He’s a third generation law enforcement officer,” Joyce said. “Mike turned down several other potential police department opportunities, choosing instead to move forward with Gig Harbor.”
Ancich Waterfront Park update
An update to the Ancich Waterfront Park was given by Katrina Knutson, Parks Project administrator.
Knutson presented the newest designs for the park, along with an update to the state of the Ancich Netshed.
“It’s in very, very bad condition,” Knutson said.
The netshed had been braced inside to help hold the structure in place until repairs could be made, but an October visit by staff revealed that the structure had deteriorated quicker than anticipated.
Because of the deterioration, the original plan of lifting the netshed onto a barge before rebuilding the pier and then reconstructing the netshed is now off the table.
Instead, a new proposal is to selectively deconstruct the netshed, salvaging as much of the original structure as possible for reuse, then demolish and reconstruct the pier, then reconstruct the netshed following the historic design of the structure.
Support for this approach comes from the Washington State Department of Historic Preservation and the Washington State Historical Society, and this method is consistent with the Gig Harbor Municipal Code.
“We will do everything possible to ensure that this is with the standards of reconstruction,” Knutson said. “We’re restoring this netshed ... it’s going to look the way it looks today, but with new materials as necessary.”
Knutson added that because the netshed will be in use, the reconstruction is held to a higher building standard than a typical historic reconstruction might require.
The project timeline is set around Gig Harbor’s busy tourist season, with the water work requiring completion by February 2018 and a projected ribbon-cutting celebration set for July 2018.
Pierce County Prosecutor update
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist provided an update on the high priority offender and elder abuse programs run by the Prosecutor’s Office.
The Prosecutor’s Office recently received a grant from the United States Department of Justice for the elder abuse program, one of only nine counties in the country to receive the nearly $400K grant.
The funds will be used to put together a comprehensive program in treating, preventing and caring for these victims, Lindquist said.
“We’ve been vigorously prosecuting these crimes and we’ve been working with the community to prevent these crimes,” he said.
A big change in recent years has been treating elder abuse as a crime, rather than a family matter, and prosecuting those who have abused an often vulnerable demographic.
Part of the prevention of these crimes is raising community awareness and providing education for how these crimes are committed, which the Prosecutor’s Office has been doing through a tour of the county and meeting with local groups.
The high priority offender program uses intelligence information, technology and data in a new way to identify and target repeat criminals.
“The idea here is to focus resources on the small proportion of individuals that cause the high number of crimes,” Lindquist said. “We want to end their criminal careers.”
This program is adapted from a successful New York City program to target those career criminals who typically have 10 felony convictions or more.
“We’re the first on the West Coast to do this,” Lindquist noted. “This (program) is going to reduce crime by getting those repeat criminals, those high offenders, off the street.”
This high priority offender program is run in partnership with 24 police departments within Pierce County, including the Gig Harbor Police Department.
“I really enjoy working with Chief Busey,” Lindquist said. “You’ve got a great department out here.”