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July 23, 2008
Officer retires after nearly three decades in a changing city
|Glen Hopkins retired from the Bonney Lake police force after spending 26 years as an officer.|
|Photo courtesy the Bonney Lake Police Depart|
ENUMCLAW, Washington (STPNS) -- By Judy Halone-The Courier-Herald
Before he retired July 1 from the Bonney Lake Police Department, Officer Glen Hopkins witnessed several changes throughout his 26-year career.
When he first joined its forces as a reservist in 1981, Prairie Market was the only grocery store in Bonney Lake; state Route 410 had two lanes; Frankie and Ruth?s and the Royal Inn were the only two restaurants in town; and Hopkins wore badge No. 7 in the one-stoplight town.
That was then.
Today, Grocery Outlet replaces the spot where Prairie Market customers once used wax crayons to mark prices on their canned goods; a parking lot has paved over breakfast conversations at Frankie and Ruth?s; businesses surrounding Wendy?s have replaced the Royal Inn; and 29 commissioned officers now serve and protect the citizens in an ever-growing town.
?Back in the old days, we sometimes had one officer on shift to cover something like a five-square mile radius,? he said. ?There was a time when I knew the majority of people or recognized them in the city. We had less area, but still less coverage for us to work a two-person shift.?
Having a small staff on duty often proved a challenge.
?When you had a situation, you had to wait for help from Buckley, Sumner or the Pierce County Sheriff,? Hopkins said.
Back then, the patrol officer?s primary concerns were generally pulling over speeders, drunk drivers and those in possession of marijuana, he said.
The city grew. So did crime, the population and traffic.
?When we all first started, it was about speeders and drunk driving,? he said.
Although the department still targets those areas, it now has a ?dedicated traffic unit to educate people that they need to slow down and be more cautious,? he said.
Other current concerns that were absent two decades ago are identity theft crimes, mail theft, rising tempers on streets and illicit, highly-potent drugs, he said.
?People don?t think of marijuana as nothing worse than having a drink,? he said, adding the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels are ?higher now than ever before because it is being imported from Mexico and Canada.?
Despite the increased crime and changes in law enforcement, one thing has remained consistent: Hopkins? ability to connect with others.
?He was one of those officers who pulled over and talked to businesses,? Assistant Chief Dana Powers said. ?He made time for people in the community who wanted to talk about whatever ? whether it was the crime or the good things in their neighborhood. Even today, you go out on a call or a case and it?s, ?is Glen working???
?I?ve always enjoyed talking to the people and trying to help them out,? Hopkins said. ?Sometimes you had to arrest them or someone?s kids, and got into situations that were bad for them. But I always tried to give them as many resources to put them on the right track.?
A step in the right direction often came years later.
?When you?re offered resources, it can take years to realize that when you do take the first step, you find out the resources were there (all along)? he said.
Hopkins said being a people person has been helpful because one day, he might offer a shoulder to cry on and then become target for someone?s venting. But his greatest rewards have come from those who he once incarcerated.
?I?ve met people who come up to me and say, ?Remember me? You arrested me. I?m doing good now. I?ve got a family, a good job. Thank you for understanding and treating me decent.? Things like that bring me the most joy.?
Hopkins is grateful for the time he served. ?I want to thank the city and those I?ve been able to build relationships with,? he said.
Hopkins and his wife Jennifer hope to continue working with the public as they prepare to open their own Grocery Outlet in the near future.
?It?s a new adventure, it deals with the public and it helps people,? he said.
Judy Halone can be reached at email@example.com.
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