Covington police chief opens victim resource center

The Covington Police have given victims of crime a new outlet when they have nowhere else to go.

When the King County Sheriff’s Precinct 3 in Maple Valley closed in 2012, a space for deputies was opened in Covington City Hall. After the precinct re-opened and City Hall space was vacated, Police Chief Andrew McCurdy and the city of Covington thought it would be a great idea to put a victim resource center there.

The new Covington Police Victim Resource Center provides citizens with answers to basic police questions, prevention resources, information about victim advocacy, filing basic police reports and fingerprinting along with other services to be introduced in the near future, according to McCurdy in a press release.

He also said it helps show the public how to prevent crime and how to navigate legal processes.

“My goal has been to have a more publicly accessible area,” he said. “Having an area where the public can ask questions is very important to me.”

McCurdy said before opening the resource center, there wasn’t really a place for victims or the public to go to ask questions or to get help.

He said they could call the police on the phone, but because there is very limited space where the police are located, it was really hard to help everyone in need of it.

Since a space for the resource center was available, it cost virtually nothing to set up this helpful service for the public, according to McCurdy.

Currently, the center is not open full time. There are limited volunteers to work the center, making it open only three times each week, — Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

McCurdy said he asked the council recently to put a budget item in for the center to be open full time and to hire more workers.

He said if they have full-time employees, there will be more direct services for the public when they need them.

By next year, McCurdy said he hopes the center will be open full time.

“The goal is to have full-time civilian employees to have a legitimate presence here,” he said.

So far, the center hasn’t been too busy, according to McCurdy. But he said they have had some traffic through it and did get an anonymous lead for a case in the area.

“It was pretty cool to have a major tip on a crime,” he said. “It’s nice to know people are already aware of it.”

McCurdy said victim resources was the next big thing to focus on. He said he and his fellow officers have everything else under control for the most part, and it is now time to focus on helping victims of crimes rather than the offender.

“I think when you’ve been a victim of a crime you feel violated,” McCurdy said. “I think giving them a place to go can help them re-assemble their lives and find some normality.”