‘It just seems to escalate’: Public safety concerns after recent violence in Edmonds

EDMONDS, Wash. — Edmonds city leaders are under pressure to address the recent spike in violent crimes following two incidents in the past week. On Saturday a teenager was shot near a middle school, and just two days earlier a man was murdered outside a grocery store.

In response to public safety concerns, the city’s mayor, Mike Nelson, attempted to allay fears during a press conference Tuesday.

“If you think you can come to our city to commit violence, using deadly force,” said Nelson, “I promise you, you’ll be met with deadly force from our officers.”

Concerned parent Mike Mearns attended the press conference with questions of his own. His kids attend the elementary school right next to where the drive-by shooting happened.

“I personally felt, this is what we’ve been worried about because it just seems to escalate,” said Mearns. “They found unused bullets on the playground of the elementary school. Last year there was a ghost gun incident at the high school down the street.”

Mearns believes increasing patrols in and around the area would make a difference.

Edmonds Police Chief Michelle Bennett agrees but said her department is facing a staffing pinch. They have eight positions open and five recruits waiting to get on the streets, but there’s a monthslong backlog at police academies across the state.

“This is not an issue that is specific to just Edmonds,” said Bennett. “Snohomish County, Everett, and Lynnwood all have folks sitting in their stations sometimes up to five or six months waiting to get an academy spot.”

Bennett believes a temporary police academy in Snohomish County could be a short-term fix to the ongoing problem.

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