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Marion County formally approves ongoing contract to provide law-enforcement services to Aurora

The Marion County Board of Commissioners approved the contract between the Marion County Sheriff's Office and Aurora for continued police patrols and services over the coming fiscal year, July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.

MCSO Cmdr. Jeff Stutrud presented the board with the contract in the amount of $213,129, saying that the sheriff's office deems the ongoing arrangement as mutually beneficial.MARION COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - Marion County Sheriff's Office shield, Woodburn Independent - News

"This is actually a contract that we have had since about 2016," Stutrud said. "Currently, we have deputy (Pete) Walker assigned to work in the city. It's an opportunity for that deputy and the community to really get to know each other; the deputy to learn the specific challenges and needs of the community. They have that one direct contact person, and it's not just policing — it's community engagement and outreach."

Stutrud noted that since Aurora has the Highway 99E backbone running through town, this partnership affords the ability to work on any traffic issues that arise and traffic enforcement. He also said the agreement is a mutually beneficial one since Aurora has the vast MCSO resources available and the sheriff's office benefits from having resources dedicated specifically to the area.

"It's up at the north end of the county that otherwise wouldn't necessarily get the dedicated coverage that they get now," Stutrud said.

"Not only do they provide the funds for one deputy, but they get all the resources of the sheriff's office that come with that," Stutrud stressed. "So, in the unfortunate circumstance that something big happens, we have search and rescue, we have detectives, we have all of our resources that come with that."

MCSO provides, or has provided, similar law-enforcement services to small towns in lieu of each providing their own police services. During the same meeting, the commissioners approved MCSO's contract with Jefferson for $396,659; Aurora's population was 1,048 in the 2020 U.S. Census, while Jefferson's is listed as 3,348.

Jefferson contracts for two deputies and is currently considering adding a third, according to Stutrud.

"We have current contracts with Jefferson, Aurora and Sublimity," MCSO Sgt. Jeremy Landers said. "I would need to check to see if there is a current one with St. Paul or Detroit."

Donald had a May 17 bond measure on the ballot asking for up to $254,000 each year for five years for police operating purposes through the county beginning in 2023. It was narrowly defeated with 106 voters (46.01%) in favor and 124 (53.91%) opposed.

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