LETTER: ‘Do You Think You Are Living in a Safe City? You May be Surprised…’

To the Editor of The Waterland Blog,

Do you remember in 2006 when we voted for a “levy lid lift” tax to restore 12 police department staff positions that had been cut in previous years due to budget shortages?

The Ex-Mayor and City Manager, promised us voters that the city would not reduce the general fund support to the police department if we voted for the approximately $1,500,000.00 annual “levy lid lift” tax.

Were you aware, they did exactly what they promised not to do?

In 2009 when nobody was looking, they cut police support from the general fund

$800,000.00 and in 2010 an additional $900,000.00. The total annual reductions of $1,700,000.00 from the general fund contribution to the police department took police funding back to where it was in 2006, before we passed the “levy lid lift” tax.

Would it surprise you to learn that after collecting the “levy lid lift” money for more than 5 full years, The police department was forced to layoff police department personnel, because of budget cuts, by the Mayor, City Manager and City Council? At last count our police department is under staffed 14 positions, or 23.3 % below full staffing.

It’s becoming clear that the city manager, mayor and city council are clearly devoid of the leadership and credibility necessary to provide sustainable solutions to many of the important issues that still face our community today. This does not apply to the 2 new councilmembers.

Do you think you are living in a safe city? You may be surprised to find out just how safe your city is.

Here are some facts you may not be aware of.



A total of 1056 criminal acts perpetrated in our city in 2011.

Did you or any of your relatives or friends suffer as victims of any of these crimes last year?

Will you or any of your relatives or friends be victims this year?

What do you think the outcome would be if, a group of criminals attempted to invade your home, and when you called police, all available officers were investigating a fatal accident on International Boulevard?

We don’t like to think of something like that happening.

But aren’t we reading about or watching the TV news about home invasions, burglaries, or murders every day in our surrounding cities.

It’s a known fact – areas with a reduced police presence attract criminal activity.

Does it seem logical to you, that more of that kind of crime might come to Des Moines? Several Des Moines citizens have expressed their concerns that it could happen here.

It’ time for someone to do something about this problem.

I’m 85 and I’m running out of time and energy. I’m not willing to wait for someone else to make the effort to get things rolling, but I could use some help!

I’m contacting people who I’ve been led to believe might join me in trying to convince our City council to restore our Police funding back to where it was in 2007.

We have some interesting ideas about how we can accomplish that task.

I’m not looking for money. This Job only needs willing concerned citizens to help get our message across.

Please contact me by E-Mail if you are interested in helping make our city a safer place to live. Communicating by mail is too expensive and too slow.

Yours truly,
Don Wasson
[email protected]

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7 Responses to “LETTER: ‘Do You Think You Are Living in a Safe City? You May be Surprised…’”
  1. Mandy M says:

    Yes, we know Des Moines PD has a minimum staffing of 4 police officers at any given time BUT we also have larger departments in the surrounding cities like SeaTac, Federal Way and Kent that are willing to come to come and assist our police officers. Crime prevention is not just an office or government responsibility. We, as citizens, have a responsibility as well.

  2. Steve says:

    Anyone interested in the Council’s priorities when it comes to saving taxpayer dollars or maintaining the status quo in the Police Department may want to watch the video of the Council Meeting dated November 10th, 2011. At this meeting, Richard Brady, President of the Matrix Consulting Group, hired by the city to study the Des Moines Police Department, recommended that the city put out a Request For Proposals for police services. The estimated savings was 1.4 million dollars. The Council at a later meeting rejected their own consultant’s opinion choosing not to explore in any meaningful way the possibility of saving 1.4 million dollars. The Council has now formed a “Marina and Beach Park Advisory Committee” to determine how to best spend 5.9 million dollars to rehabilitate the park buildings and grounds. Too bad the Council did not show the same enthusiasm for forming an advisory committee to evaluate Mr. Brady’s unbiased recommendation for saving 1.4 million dollars in the Police Department.

    • Sunny Jim says:

      Dear Mr Wasson, funny that with your very questionable past in Des Moines city government you have the audacity to question and accuse those who provide and serve this fine city in an honest and respectable manner. Something you were not able to provide our residents during your years of power and manipulation…


      Happy Bob

      • Pat Nardo says:

        “Honest and Respectable Manner”? Did you not notice how they tried to pass a 50% increase on SWM and hearly sneaked it in until many of us fought it? As for my friend, Don Wasson; you should sit with him once and you would understand why he was unable to do much of anything as a council member. He was kept constanly on the alert with attacks, which came at him from a couple on the council intil, finally, he made an innocent blunder that was his downfall. Now we have a new council membership and we need to stand behind them as strongly as possible having learned from the past and a less admirable leadership. When is the last time we read of a police guild requesting a council member’s resignation? Don Wasson was not responsible for our million dollar “shortfall” either!

  3. Todd says:

    Mr. Wasson
    Your intentions may be great and I know that you are lifelong resident of the city.
    However, I recall that when the police department had more officers, at least two of these officers spent their time handing out speeding tickets to us local residents. After receiving a speeding ticket for six miles over limit. I ask the officer, if he had ever driven pass my house before and his response was if I had a problem I could call 911. I think just throwing more officers at the Des Moines police force buys us very little, because the chief was more interested in speeders that neighborhood protection. Be careful what you ask for, more police may simply mean more officers to cite you for irrelevant minor offences and shooting your dog rather than protecting you from the bad guys. I for one have seen Des Moines police in action with more officerers and I do not feel any safer, I just drive slower and keep my dog with me at all times.

    • Pat Nardo says:

      Mr. Todd;
      I truly respect your observation nd our feelings about the police and “speeders”. Our police have a duty to protect us in our homes, on the streets and while we are under way from point to point. On more than one occasionI was endangered by speeders on Marine View Drive between Boston Pizza and the Salt Water Park. This was once, a real “speedway” and being cut off was a harrowing experience for us. We are happy to see an occasional police car on that roadway and, unless you are a speeder yourself, I hope you will share my support and respect for the hard working officers that, without whom, we would really suffer. When our police seem to concentrate on one aspect of discilpline, it is usuually bacause it has become a significant problem eg: Speeding. Now, next time you see a police car, smile and wave and appreciative hand…watch the result.
      Pat Nardo

  4. TP says:

    It is highly unlikely the city will increase funding in any area as they have a big short fall right now. Building department staff have been cut to 32 hour work weeks and some have been assigned to other departments. The doors are wide open for developement, but with less staff it may take a little longer for permits.

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