For years, it’s been part of Lisa Isaacs’ job to create a bridge between the Puyallup Police Department and its community.
As crime prevention coordinator, Isaacs has put together the department’s Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program, Coffee with a Cop, Paws on Patrol and Citizens’ Academy — all of which foster relationships between citizens and their police force.
“I’m extremely honored to be a part of this police department … and I love community outreach,” said Isaacs, 59. “I feel very strongly that it’s our responsibility to give back to the community.”
I’m extremely honored to be a part of this police department … and I love community outreach. I feel very strongly that it’s our responsibility to give back to the community.
Lisa Isaacs, crime prevention coordinator
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After more than a decade working with the department, Isaacs will retire in June — and will clearly be missed by her coworkers.
“People know who Lisa is and what she does, and that speaks volumes about her work,” said Capt. Scott Engle.
Growing up in the Seattle area, Isaacs, a Rogers High School graduate, was always involved in her community, including churches and school districts. That didn’t change as she got older and graduated from Saint Martin’s University with a degree in criminal justice. It was there that she met her husband, Tony, who was in the U.S. Army.
After Tony retired from his 30-year service in the Army, the couple settled in Puyallup, where Isaacs started with the Puyallup PD in 1999.
At the time, there were two others working on crime prevention, and together they launched the Citizens’ Academy in 2001. In 2006, Isaacs left to work for the city of Tacoma as its crime-free coordinator, but she kept in touch with the police in Puyallup.
In 2013, Isaacs returned to work for Puyallup PD. The two other crime prevention coordinators had left, and a few years had passed since the department had hosted a Citizens’ Academy. Isaacs wanted to get the program going again — and she did, along with many others.
Now, Isaacs’ VIPS program has more than 40 volunteers, who worked 6,000 hours in 2016.
“It’s a growing program,” Isaacs said.
When Isaacs leaves, Engle said the department plans to keep the community programs going — and Isaacs said she’ll be stopping by to make sure.
“This is probably one of the critical pieces of our job, if we’re doing it right,” Engle said about the community programs.
I wish (Isaacs) well. We really have a gem and a gold star, and it’s going to be big shoes to fill.
Scott Engle, Puyallup PD captain
“I wish (Isaacs) well,” he added. “We really have a gem and a gold star, and it’s going to be big shoes to fill.”
But Isaacs said her job isn’t entirely over when she retires. She plans to get more people involved in a block watch in her Fox Island neighborhood, where she currently lives.
“I look out for people. With working here, I’ve seen what can happen,” Isaacs said. “I don’t want people to be victimized.”
But the time for retirement felt right, Isaacs said. In early May, her first granddaughter was born early — a little more than a week after her mother passed on April 26.
“My mom always said, ‘Don’t wait too long. Enjoy your life and enjoy your family,’” Isaacs said.
I enjoy my job and what I do. I feel I’ve made my mark on Puyallup and it’ll always have a place in my heart. But I think we’re ready to go on the next phase in our lives.
With her last day coming up, Isaacs plans to do just that after she retires. She also plans to spend some time on the Puget Sound waters with her husband and their new boat.
“I enjoy my job and what I do,” Isaacs said. “I feel I’ve made my mark on Puyallup and it’ll always have a place in my heart. But I think we’re ready to go on the next phase in our lives.”