Public engagement is key for Mercer Island Police Department

MIPD warns of gift-card scams, car prowls.

In a recent post on the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) Facebook page, a commenter asked officers to crack down on speeders along the lengthy, looping Mercer Way. Stolen cars and apartment break-ins were also mentioned in the resident’s post.

MIPD records specialist Lindsey Tusing, who’s also in charge of communications, said that when they are apprised of such instances, officers check into them. An MIPD response to the resident’s Facebook concerns noted that the department is developing initiatives to help prevent those aforementioned crimes and solve them when they occur.

Public engagement is one of the department’s priorities, Tusing added, and it’s crucial for the MIPD to seek input from residents, whether it’s online or in person.

Officers and Chief Ed Holmes fielded questions from residents at the recent Coffee With a Cop community event at the south-end Starbucks, and Tusing felt it was a positive experience for everyone involved. MIPD is fortunate to garner the public’s support, she said, adding that the department would like to see things continue along that path.

On the speeding front, Tusing noted: “We regularly take input from the community regarding what they’re noticing for problem areas and disseminate that to our patrol officers.” She added that on a recent weekend, corporal Samantha Hammer kept close watch on drivers traversing north and west Mercer Way and issued a couple of speeding citations during her lengthy emphasis patrol.

Residents often read about Island incidents that others have posted on Nextdoor or Facebook, such as a recent Halloween night “gun flashing” toward a group of people. Tusing said that a resident reported spotting someone adjusting their coat and revealing a possible concealed firearm. A police investigation noted that no overt threats were made and witnesses had somewhat conflicting recollections of what may have transpired during the incident, Tusing said.

“As with anything, I would caution people to look into what they read online or be hesitant to perpetuate or spread misinformation if they haven’t verified it themselves,” said Tusing, who noted that people can file online public records requests through the police department’s portal.

In diminishing car prowls, which often occur on the Island, Tusing reminds residents to empty their cars of any sort of container (full or not), which if left in clear view may be enticing for prowlers to bust inside.

With the holidays approaching, gift-card scams are on the uptick. Residents are advised to be skeptical if they receive phone calls or are emailed or texted messages with phone numbers pertaining to cards and refrain from clicking unfamiliar links.


New MIPD officers Olivia Jensen and August Owen recently graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy and will soon be working alongside field training officers.

At the Coffee With a Cop event, Tusing noted about recruiting new officers: “It’s a difficult profession to be in right now. It’s incredibly competitive. When we have one vacancy, we really feel that. We looked at several hundred applicants for our recent openings. These officers have their pick of where they want to work. They want to be on Mercer Island.”

John Hamer contributed to this story.