Estacada council considers options for policing
Estacada city leaders are mulling options for police services that would allow for increased patrol hours, and have reached out to the Sandy Police Department, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, Oregon City Police Department and Canby Police Department.
Oregon City has already taken itself out of the running, but Estacada city leaders had not heard from the Canby Police Department as of last week.
A subcommittee consisting of Mayor Sean Drinkwine, Councilor Luke Wever and Councilor Aaron Gant will meet with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and the Sandy Police Department to discuss options for in a new contract.
City Manager Denise Carey said the subcommittee hopes to explore options for both 12- and 16-hour-per-day coverage.
"If we can afford the 16, that's definitely the one we want to go with," she said.
Since 2013, Estacada has contracted with neighboring Sandy for police services. Estacada receives 80 hours of patrol each week under this contract. For these services, along with the cost of the school resource officer that the city and school district share, the city of Estacada pays $413,000 annually.
Because Estacada's contract with the Sandy Police Department requires a nine month notice if they wish to end services, Estacada City Manager Denise Carey sent a letter detailing the situation to Sandy City Manager Kim Yamashita and Police Chief Ernie Roberts earlier this year.
"Although we are required to send this letter in the event that the city decides to change our police services, the city is also interested in negotiations with the city of Sandy for these services but under a different agreement," Carey wrote in the letter.
Carey noted that once the subcommittee has met with law enforcement agencies, they will present their findings to the rest of the City Council. She estimated that a decision about police services would be made by the council in May.
Carey added that although the city cannot afford 24-hour police coverage, options to finance this in the future will soon be presented to the City Council.
"One of the ways that cities pay for their police services is through taxes. . .(the levies) only last for five years, so every five years you have to renew. The other way is called a public safety fee on your utility bill," she explained. "Once we get this new contract in place, because that's our priority now, then we'll discuss 'how do we want to go forward to provide 24-hour coverage?' And then start having open houses and surveys."
Moving forward, city leaders are also interested in creating a public safety commission of residents and councilors that would meet with law enforcement, potentially on a quarterly basis.
"I think it's just going to make the whole partner-
ship better the more people we have involved," Carey said.