Re: “An underfunded Seattle Harbor Patrol needs public support” [Sept. 12, Opinion]:

Seattle is certainly a wonderful water city that depends upon and deserves robust maritime public-safety services. And I agree those services should receive greater funding and staffing. Accordingly, this Op-Ed presents an opportunity to discuss better allocation of public-safety resources.

Between 2010 and 2019, the Harbor Unit had only 426 calls for service for maritime law enforcement/harbor code violations, an average of less than 43 per year. Most of the calls were for waterway maintenance and activities like firefighting, rescue and emergency medical services. Do these activities really constitute police work?

This is not to say we should ignore our law enforcement capabilities on the water, and throughout history, Seattle has tried different plans. In 1976, the Fire Department was given law enforcement authority on saltwater. The city chose to not give firefighters the authority to issue citations because of state rules that penalize city employees who get out of their lanes and work as both law enforcement officers and firefighters.

The Fire Department has a long history of excellence providing marine-safety services. We should not dismiss plans that protect our citizens and guests while mitigating Police Department staffing problems at the same time.

Greg Anderson, Lake Forest Park