On Tuesday night, Mukilteo crime prevention officer Colt Davis hosted the city's first “Paws On Patrol” meeting.
Dog owners met outside City Hall to learn how they could look for suspicious activity while walking in their neighborhoods. Participants will get identifying bandanas for their dogs, similar to Block Watch or Neighborhood Watch signs, to warn criminals that police have those extra eyes and ears in the community, Davis said.
Before and after the class, dog owners sat in the shade, chatting about how each pooch came into their lives and the quirks of each pet personality.
The dogs greeted each other in their usual doggy fashion.
Demaree Clay and her husband, Fred Taylor, brought two of their five dogs along.
Mikey, the Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix, is the “little chick magnet,” Clay said.
She runs a business teaching people how to become better pet owners, and how to socialize their pups.
Elizabeth Petre and her husband, Craig, brought their Havanese, Winnie.
“I walk her every day,” Petre said. “We usually walk three or four miles around the neighborhood, and I think I could keep my eyes out if I knew what I was looking for.”
People are out walking their dogs in Mukilteo around the clock, Davis said. Those folks know their neighborhoods, and they can usually tell if something is amiss.
Many people struggle deciding whether to call 911 for something that appears suspicious, Davis said.
“If it makes the back of your neck tingle, if it makes your guts feel kind of weird, call us,” he said.
When calling 911, people should state right away where they are, and where the suspicious activity is taking place, Davis said. Details on a suspect, including clothing and a vehicle and license plate, are helpful.
Officers who respond will look for the suspect first, then come talk to the caller, he said. For safety reasons, neighbors should not confront a suspect themselves, Davis said.
A real-life example came from a woman who lives near a Mukilteo school and sees kids skateboarding on the roof. That's the kind of thing that warrants a police response, Davis said. The kids will probably scatter at the approach of a grown-up, but a safety chat from officers may be more effective.
Attendee Chamari Power, 19, liked the idea of taking Block Watch to a new level.
“Starting with dogs is a good way to go,” she said.
Power's 9-week-old Chihuahua, Piko, fell asleep in her lap as the class wrapped up.
“He's still a baby,” Power said.
Crime prevention can be hard work.
As folks chatted, Winnie the Havanese and Mikey the Pom-Chi exchanged a few exploratory growls and snarls.
Both, it seemed, are used to playing the part of the cute fluff ball. There could be some competition there.
But Mikey's “sister,” a German Shepherd named Cinnamon, ignored their little spat.
She looked on from her spot in the shade, her indifference almost regal.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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