E veryone knows what to do in an emergency: Call 911. Less clear is how — and when — to bother Maple Valley police about more minor issues in the neighborhood.
“Our police department cannot assist the citizens of Maple Valley with their concerns unless they bring them to our attention and we are advised of when and where they are occurring,” says Taryn Weatherford, crime prevention specialist for the Maple Valley Police. “The police department is here to assist the public and create a safer community.”
I worry that there will be a tragic accident.
In the Pebble Creek neighborhood, for example, police have been called when door-to-door salespeople are too aggressive, says Shelly Rodwell, vice president and secretary of the neighborhood’s homeowner’s association.
“In the past few months our community has had its share of break-ins and vandalism,” says Rodwell. Consequently, the neighborhood is sensitive about solicitors, who sometimes harass homeowners even when “No Soliciting” signs are posted. Door-to-door salespeople must have a city-issued peddler’s license.
“In one instance they stood in the doorway of a neighbor’s house with a baby in her arms and wouldn’t let her shut her door,” she says. Pebble Creek is off 288th Street near the Black Diamond border.
In the Maple Ridge neighborhood on the other side of state Route 169, the hot neighborhood issue is skateboarders, who like to use the busy and steep Maple Ridge Drive to build speed. Skateboarding is legal in Maple Valley, though helmets are required.
“It is a safety issue for skaters and drivers alike. I worry that there will be tragic accident,” says Amy Bonte of the Maple Ridge HOA. “As a driver, it is difficult to avoid them when they come out of nowhere.”
The HOA is looking into forming a task force that would advocate the placement of raised reflectors or bumps in the street to deter skateboarders, Bonte says.
Meanwhile, Weatherford says residents shouldn’t be afraid to call police over safety issues like this, even if nothing illegal is going on. Residents may call 911, or if they feel like the situation does not warrant an “emergency” call, they can dial the 24-hour non-emergency dispatch number : 206-296-3311.
“We can address skateboarding issues if kids are obstructing traffic or causing a hazard for other drivers or pedestrians,” she says. “We would rather receive 10 calls about kids recklessly skateboarding in the streets than one call of an injured skateboarder.”
In fact, in Pebble Creek, residents have called police over minor issues such as cars parked over the sidewalk.
“Maple Valley police have been very accommodating at coming out here every few weeks to ticket and educate the public,” says Rodwell.
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