Police departments aren’t just there to respond to crime as it happens — they’re also there prevent it from happening in the first place.
In Puyallup, a big part of that is fostering a relationship between the public and the department.
After former crime prevention coordinator Lisa Isaacs retired over the summer, the department has since filled the position that’s intended to keep that bond between police and community members going strong.
Keriann Cockrell will now be working to continue programs and activities such as block watches, Coffee with a Cop, Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) and Citizen’s Academy.
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“The thing that brings me the most joy is working with the community,” said Cockrell, 52.
The thing that brings me the most joy is working with the community.
Keriann Cockrell, crime prevention coordinator
And Cockrell has had a long history of doing just that. Before her first day with the Puyallup Police Department on Aug. 28, Cockrell worked for about six years with CHI Franciscan Health.
“My role there was community outreach,” she said. “Many of the pieces of this job are similar.”
The only difference is who she’s working with.
“The new piece for me is being in a law enforcement environment,” she said. “They’re an amazing group of individuals. It’s nice just to see how they care about our community.”
Cockrell has lived in Puyallup for about 28 years. Her children have gone through the Puyallup School District. She was a past Puyallup Rotary president and has close connections to other Puyallup groups.
“The opportunity to be able to do work in my hometown is great,” she said.
The opportunity to be able to do work in my hometown is great.
Cockrell grew up in Hoquiam with a step-grandfather who was a first responder. She remembered going down to the station and riding on a fire truck. Now, her sister works for the Orting Police Department.
“I have fond memories of first responders,” Cockrell said.
Cockrell described her position as a liaison between the public and the police department, and plans to continue volunteer programs, some of them launched by Isaacs.
One of the traditions started by Isaacs includes a candy bowl that now sits on her desk.
“I got asked about that probably more than everything else,” Cockrell joked.
Cockrell also plans to expand their volunteer reach moving to digital communications.
In the next couple of months we’ll be implementing a volunteer software system. That will be a place where we’ll have every (volunteer) together.
“In the next couple of months we’ll be implementing a volunteer software system,” she said. “That will be a place where we’ll have every (volunteer) together.”
This system would provide volunteer profiles that lists service descriptions and makes it easier for the department to connect with its 41 volunteers.
“There's a lot of possibilities for use with that,” she said.
Puyallup Police Capt. Scott Engle said she was a good fit for the position.
She’s got a lot of passion and energy, which is nice for that position. She’s going to be a great addition.
Scott Engle, Puyallup police captain
“She’s got a lot of passion and energy, which is nice for that position,” he said. “She’s going to be a great addition.”
“(The officers) all been very gracious and kind because I have a lot of questions,” Cockrell said. “I’m excited for all the things to come.”