Mad River Union
McKINLEYVILLE – Sheriff William Honsal plans to beef up law enforcement in McKinleyville by the end of the year, adding more deputies and a bicycle patrol.
Honsal said at a recent meeting in McKinleyville that he hopes to hire three more deputies for the McKinleyville beat. That will bring the number of deputies on patrol in McKinleyville at any given time to two or three. Currently, two deputies patrol McKinleyville.
This will allow a deputy to patrol the Hammond Trail and other areas on a bicycle.
The additional staffing is due to funds generated by Measure Z, a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2014. The idea for that sales tax came from the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee, (McKMAC) which urged the Board of Supervisors to pursue the additional public safety funding.
Honsal told the committee July 26 that McKinleyville has a serious crime problem.
“I don’t need to tell you this, but crime is going up,” Honsal said.
“It [McKinleyville] has city issues and city problems,” Honsal said. “It has drugs, crime, gangs – it has everything.”
Committee member Kevin Jenkins noted that he has seen a significant increase in crime in the past five years. The owner of McKinleyville Ace Home and Garden Center, Jenkins said that the sales tax he would pay on the amount of merchandise stolen from his store would be enough to pay for a full-time deputy.
With more deputies in McKinleyville, the town may need to expand the McKinleyville Law Enforcement Facility at Pierson Park. The building was built by the Mad River Rotary and is owned by the McKinleyville Community Services District.
Jenkins said that the office was designed with the idea that it might be expanded in the future.
The Sheriff’s Office held its first Coffee with a Cop event Aug. 9 at the Starbucks in McKinleyville.
“It went very well,” said Lt. Kevin Miller, who leads the Mckinleyville beat. “There was a steady flow of people there.”