Chief's Corner - A Solid Investment in Public Safety

 In 2017, the City Council voted to restore funding for the position of a criminal investigator within the U.P.P.D., and one year ago this month, Deputy Josh Mills joined the staff of the U.P. Police Department as our dedicated crime investigator.

I recently asked Deputy Mills to provide me with a brief synopsis of his work over the last year. I knew he had made a huge impact in a short period of time, and his report backs that up. In the last 12 months, Deputy Mills has:

  • Led or assisted in 202 cases. Nearly 85 arrests have been made associated with these investigations, with more than 90 percent of those accounting for felony arrests.
  • Has an additional 27 cases pending prosecutor review. This means there is probable cause for arrest. Deputy Mills continues to work with our local prosecutors to determine if a summons/warrant will be issued.
  • Worked a wide spectrum of cases that include shootings, robberies, felony assaults and theft.
  • Headed up the investigation into a construction site theft ring. The suspects lived in Tacoma but committed crimes in U.P., Tacoma, Pierce County and as far south as Olympia. Search warrants were executed and several arrests were made. In addition, associated drug dealers were also arrested in conjunction with this case.
  • Written over 620 police reports.

Many of these cases would not have been worked at all if we didn’t have an investigator position. Although all incidents in U.P. are forwarded to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department headquarters for follow up, they run the risk of getting added to the list of cases from all over the county. This means our cases must vie for the time and monetary resources of the PCSD’s staff.

Having Deputy Mills on our staff ensures that we can control what cases get attention. He is in regular communication with our patrol deputies, who do a good job of sharing with him the information they gather from each call they respond to. But we need those patrol officers back on the street, so having a full-time investigator means we can continue to track down the leads we need to resolve crime and identify ways in which we can prevent similar events from occurring in the future.

I hope you feel, as I do, that having a full time investigator in the department has proven to be a worthwhile investment in our community’s public safety. Deputy Mills’ ability to follow cases from crime scene to charging and prosecution sends a message to all would-be criminals: U.P. has put its money where its mouth is when it comes to fighting crime and we continue to look for new strategies and funding to further improve our staffing and crime prevention efforts.”