City returns to Sheriff's Office for policing
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office will likely begin providing law enforcement services in Estacada later this year.
Estacada city councilors gave a consensus to move forward with entering into a contract with the Sheriff's Office during a meeting on Monday, May 14, and the council will vote on a formal intergovernmental agreement at a future meeting.
Earlier this year, councilors opted to explore several options for police services, including continuing with the Sandy Police Department or contracting with another agency such as the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. Estacada has contracted with the Sandy Police Department since 2013; prior to that, the city contracted with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
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 at the beginning of the 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.
In an interview with the Estacada News, Sandy Police Chief Ernie Roberts said that the department had not submitted a bid for services in Estacada because he was told during a meeting with the Estacada City Council's subcommittee for police services that they had already opted to contract with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
"I wasn't going to make a bid for contract services when the decision was already made," Roberts said. "My main focus has been how to have those officers (who serve Estacada) back in Sandy in the current budget. We would have put in a bid, but it was clear (Estacada) was going to go with Clackamas County for coverage."
After the May 14 meeting, City Councilors Aaron Gant and Luke Wever, who served on the Council's subcommittee for police services, declined to comment on what was said when the group met with the Sandy Police Department. They noted that there had been multiple meetings and said they had "not seen very much interest" from Sandy in pursuing a bid since they sent the letter giving the department notice that they potentially wished to contact with another agency.
"It's a long story and an ongoing process," Gant said, adding that he was in favor of either Sandy or Clackamas County serving Estacada.
"I believe we will get better service with Clackamas County, both during and after hours," Wever said. "That's not to say Sandy is doing a bad job, but we'll be better suited (with Clackamas County)."
Officers from the Sandy Police Department will serve Estacada through October. Roberts noted that his department has offered to assist the Sheriff's Office during the transition.
"It's been a pleasure for us to serve the city of Estacada and develop wonderful relationships there. My officers love working down there," Roberts said. "Until the last day of our contract, we'll give it 100 percent."
He noted that a challenge the department faced while working in Estacada was lack of 24-hour police coverage.
"I think it's a challenge for any agency without that. The city could benefit from it, but it's an extremely high cost. . .it all comes down to issues of funding," he said. "We're trying ot adjust our schedules to maximize the hours we have (in Estacada)."
During the May 14 meeting, Estacada resident Patty Allen expressed disappointment at the decision.
"I can't believe we're not going with the best. Sandy has done a superb job for us. Have any of you given any thought to the difference between Clackamas County and Sandy?" she asked the City Council. "Sandy is kinder and gentler and they show up . . .that's not going to happen with Clackamas County."
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