EVERETT – The City’s new Safe Streets work crew has been performing clean-up work in north Everett for nearly three weeks, and is receiving positive reviews from participants and nearby businesses.
“We are still early in the program, but it’s great to see an enthusiastic response from the community and from individuals who are participating,” said Hil Kaman, lead prosecutor. “Work crew has the potential to make a difference in people’s lives, while simultaneously making our streets cleaner and safer.”
The work crew, part of the City’s Safe Streets plan, builds on the City’s other successful diversion programs, which provide alternatives to prosecution and jail time for low-level offenders. Work crew participants pick up garbage, sweep streets, return grocery carts and clean up areas affected by street crime. They also have the chance to take classes and learn skills such as time management, communication and problem solving, and have the opportunity to be connected with treatment and service.
Jack Jessup, a recently retired Everett bike patrol officer, is supervising the work crew. Participants begin their mornings near the Everett Gospel Mission and work their way north on Smith Avenue, and on Broadway, picking up trash and debris.
The crew breaks for lunch and classroom time at the work crew office, located at 2000 Hewitt. Jessup explained that time in the classroom is used to ask, ‘”How did you end up here, and how can we get you headed in the right direction?” Jessup makes phone calls to area social workers that can assist participants with their specific needs. Catholic Community Services has been very responsive in supporting people in the program, and have even helped teach the classes.
In the afternoon, the crew moves further north to 17th Street and Broadway to continue cleaning.
Jessup said officers in Everett Police’s Community Outreach and Enforcement Team unit have been sending some great participants who are eager to work off their criminal citations in this volunteer program.
“This program would not exist if not for the Everett Police Department’s support and their willingness to help people in need,” Jessup said.
In the short time since the work crew kicked off, the program has already received praise from participants, businesses and community neighborhoods located near the clean-up areas.
“I have already had one member tell me they would be willing to work all summer in order to get all of their fines paid off,” Jessup said. “We want to keep up this momentum with current and future work crew members.”
The Safe Streets plan is a comprehensive, balanced approach that focuses on housing, diversion, and outreach and enforcement to address street-level social issues in Everett.