ABERDEEN, Wash. - Taking back the night and the crosswalks of Aberdeen seemed to be the theme of last night's ward meeting at A.J. West Elementary. Local business owner Gary Randall has been facing expensive theft and vandalism issues in the second ward. "Usually about two, or three o'clock in the morning you literally have to drive very carefully - especially around the neighborhood, because there are people in black clothing riding bicycles. These people are all out doing wrong things, each person that I've caught on camera stealing from me is dressed in clandestine type clothing - same people I see on bicycles. I don't know why this is going on, I don't know why the police department can't fix this problem.
Police Chief Bob Torgerson replied "Everybody that's riding a bicycle dressed in black, it's legal and they can do that. We have methods, and our officers do engage those folks, but they are limited within the Constitution of the United States. The same [laws] that protect all of our rights, also protect their rights." Torgerson added "As far as arresting people, we'll arrest as many as we can - but there's also [the question of] what we do with them."
City council candidate Michelle Barclay said she worries about the kids in front of the school "Because you'll have four or five, ten kids crossing the crosswalk at any one time, right in front of the school. And when we're all parked out there like the cars are now, you can't see who's in front of that minivan." she asked if they wrote down license plates, would the city mail out gentle reminders rather than citations.
Police Chief Bob Torgerson replied "I like the idea of the letter. Part of the problem is that a police officer has to witness this occur, but it doesn't mean that we can't send out the gentle reminder that 'you're running a stop sign'."
About 40 residents and city staff attended the second of four meetings to discuss issues in the city.
The next meeting starts at 6:30 on November 4th at Robert Gray, then the final meeting will be held at McDermoth on the 8th. A town hall meeting will be held early next year to address concerns raised at these meetings.