By Jessica Smith

Staff writer

Hermiston — The Hermiston Police Department has begun sending out the second annual Police Service Questionnaire recently.

Last year more than 4,000 surveys were distributed. About 15 percent of those were returned, and HPD is hoping more will be returned this year.

"We are interested in what our customers think about the delivery of police services and value the input we receive from this instrument," said HPD Chief Dan Coulombe.

"We use this information of focus on those issues that are important to our citizens. It is the desire of the police department to be a part of, not apart from, members of the community."

"It's a good way for us to get a pulse of what our customers feel — how we are doing, what we are doing good, and how we can improve," said Hermiston Police Lt. Jason Edmiston.

Questions on the survey range from whether citizens feel if their neighborhood is safe at day and at night, how effective people perceive the Hermiston Police Department is, citizen's three biggest problems in their neighborhoods, and what their recommendation for improving service by the police.

Last year, traffic concerns such as speeding totaled more than 30 percent of responders concerns, but Edmiston said that the police won't just be focusing on those issues.

"We try to continue to be cognizant of thefts, and drugs also, which is why we've taken so much time working on hitting drug houses," explained Edmiston.

The top 10 concerns of 2005 were:

? Speeding (23.8%)

? Animal Complaints (13.76%)

? Theft and Burglary (11.97%)

? Noise Complaints (10.11%)

? Trash, weeds, junk (8.82%)

? Traffic Issues (7.67%)

? Drugs (6.02%)

? Parking (4.37%)

? Juvenile Problems (3.73%)

? Graffiti (3.15%)

The survey can be returned with the water bill, or dropped off at Hermiston City Hall. It can be filled out anonymous, or a name and contact can be added to it so the police can make contact if there is a specific worry or concern.

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