Sunnyside police crunch the numbers

Gang referrals down, violent crime on the rise

The Sunnyside Police Department added up the numbers for the Sunnyside City Council’s public safety subcommittee, and the data reflects a marked drop in police overtime and school gang referrals, while showing an increase in most violent crimes.

That’s according to reports provided to the subcommittee last night, Monday, by Deputy Police Chief Phil Schenck.


The 39 gang referrals noted in May 2013, 127 in May 2011 and 269 in May 2009 were for those school years to date, not for the month of May alone.

Schenck noted the Sunnyside School District had 39 gang referrals for May 2013 compared to 127 for the same month in 2011 and 269 for May 2009.

Schenck attributed the improvement to the partnership between the city and school district.

As for overtime, Schenck provided the subcommittee with statistics reflecting a 48 percent drop in overtime compared to 2012. He said total police overtime is $101,505 for this year through September 2013. The total was $195,509 for the same time period in 2012.

That’s also down from 2011’s overtime figures of $298,527 through September.

Schenck stated that Sunnyside’s police overtime budget for 2013 is $80,575. By comparison, he noted Grandview’s police overtime budget for this year is $171,000.

Subcommittee member Francisco Guerrero said he would like to see Sunnyside’s overtime dollars decrease even more.

“From a business perspective it makes me cringe,” he said of overtime costs.

Schenck replied that the city is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and can’t limit its hours of operation.

“We’re committed to keep it as low as possible,” he said of overtime costs.

He said there are some overtime costs that can’t be helped, such as mandatory trainings.

In addition, Schenck said the department is down four staff members; with one officer leaving Sunnyside to work for another city, two on administrative leave and a fourth out due to an injury suffered during the carjacking/hostage incident last week.

Some of the statistics Schenck provided show an increase in crime, such as forcible rape with nine cases through September of this year compared to four at the same point last year. The nine cases to date are the most in Sunnyside since at least 2005.

Schenck said there’s a positive side to those numbers in that it means more cases of rape are being reported. Noting that rape cases are typically vastly under-reported, Schenck claims the fact more victims are coming forward shows an increased trust in police to handle the cases.

Assault cases are also on the rise in Sunnyside, according to the numbers provided last night. Those termed simple assaults rose from 122 through September of 2012 to 133 for the same time frame this year. Other assault cases rose slightly from 21 to 23.

Another violent crime showing an increase is robbery. There have been six in Sunnyside this year through September. That’s the most since 2010, when 11 robberies were reported through September of that year.

The only category of violent crime showing a decrease according to last night’s numbers, is homicide. There was one through September of last year and none so far in 2013.

Property crimes also are on the decline in Sunnyside for the most part. Arson, theft and non-residential burglaries are all down in 2013 compared to last year, while residential burglaries and motor vehicle thefts are on the rise.

For its meeting next month, the subcommittee asked Schenck to come back with up-to-date crime statistics and overtime numbers. Subcommittee member Theresa Hancock also asked for clarification on some of the crime statistics, particularly regarding shots fired calls.

Also for the next meeting Hancock requested a draft of a more detailed interlocal agreement regarding use of Sunnyside’s K-9 unit. She expressed concern last night about potential costs and liability exposure for the city over calls for assistance for the K-9 unit, such as the recent call-out from Fish and Wildlife officials to help track a suspect hunting after dark.

Sunnyside’s K-9 unit will be disbanded early next year, said Schenck, due to legalization of marijuana in this state.


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C_T_D 4 years, 6 months ago

So, Vlieger's claim of lowest crime rates in 23 years isn't accurate? Whodathunkit


srt8 4 years, 6 months ago

“From a business perspective it makes me cringe,” says Guerrero. Obviously, Councilman Guerrero has no concept of law enforcement. That $80,000.00 wont even buy you a police officer when you include salary, benefits, training and outfitting the officer. In this state (don't know where Guerrero came from) it is mandatory all law enforcement officer receive a number of training hours. If not, the agency could lose its enforcement powers. That's just one area. The other area is coverage due to officers getting hurt while on duty (I don't think Guerrero understands that being a cop is... well.....dangerous!), vacations, emergency leave, etc. As Deputy Chief Schenk put it.....police operations is a 24/7 operation. Its not "banker hours" like the job Guerrero is in. Simply have a banker trying to tell the Police Department how to operate. I don't know about anyone else, but the last I heard that it was a banks job to try to make as much money as possible from its customers. Are we citizens becoming customers of council people such as Guerrero?


4everoceans 4 years, 6 months ago

Maybe with better scheduling management we could hire more officers and eliminate the high cost of overtime. Required training should be part of their schedule and not automatically considered overtime!!! At budget time the Chief or Deputy Chief should know what training is required or needed and that should be considered in the overall budget. Many Many businesses run 24/365 and do not, I repeat do not allow over time, they schedule appropriately for the 24/7/365 and the PD should be no different. I have spoken to many different police chiefs in areas other than around SS and have been told that over time is something that ONLY happens in an emergency. Why is SS so different??? Because our so called Deputy Chief is not a manager of any kind he is a tyrant, which is not a good thing when dealing with our citizens!!!!!


ssoverlord 4 years, 6 months ago

The only real numbers that matter are the millions of dollars that have gone to support the over blown, mismanaged Sunnyside Police Department. So now the K9 unit will be disbanded? Another Vlieger and company financial boondoggle that cost the city well over $80,000 to start up with unreal promises made by Vlieger that not only would it pay for itself (less than $500 has been seized to date) but bring in enough drug seizure money to buy another one!

This is just another example of his fiscal conservative policies and for which he proudly takes credit for. To brag that all of his actions has led to a new general fund balance of close to $300,000 which is actually up from $824 that they had in June is the height of hubris!!! Here's a little news flash for you Don, if you hadn't blown that $80,000 you would now have $380,000 in the bank!

Forget for the moment that when he was elected in 2009 that the City had $3.7 million in reserves and contingency and that he, Raines, Hicks, and Farmer went through that pot of money like a hot knife through butter.


1234 4 years, 6 months ago

Sunnyside K9 unit will be disbanded early next year, said Schenck, due to the legalization of marijuana in this state. Well its my understanding the K9 can find more then just marijuana and the dog can track and find suspects that are hiding.

Also the City of Sunnyside did not pay for the entire cost of the K9. Is the City going to pay the Citizens of Sunnyside back for all the K9 donations?


Suntown 4 years, 6 months ago

First of all, I really doubt there is a police department in the state that doesn't have overtime. Police departments are not like a business where work can just be passed onto the next guy on duty. Reporting and follow up so that the crimes that are committed can be prosecuted has to be completed by the same person, not the next guy on duty. Secondly, as I understand it, part of the problem with the K-9 program is that police departments (not just Sunnyside's) need specially trained dogs that are not marijuana sensitive. Finally, I really appreciate the changes that have occurred due to the efforts of the Sunnyside Police Department. There have been a lot of departments in our area that have said they are focusing on gangs and crimes, but the efforts of the Sunnyside Police Department have been the first that I have seen that really work.


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