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Councilors should be careful when considering cop contracts

City could stick with the sheriffs office or be served by the Sandy Police


The Estacada City Council decided earlier this year that it would examine different options for providing law enforcement services for residents.

Since then, councilors have heard from representatives of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, which the city currently contracts with, and the Sandy Police Department, about what can be offered.

Law enforcement is one of the most critical functions of government, especially at the local level. Even the most vehemently anti-government citizen is quick to expect a response when an emergency arises.

Because of that, it’s really important that the council consider what is best for its citizens when deciding which agency to select to provide coverage to Estacada.

A proposal put forth by the Sandy Police Department promises to save the city just under $70,000 per year for services similar to what it has received from the sheriff’s office for several years.

City officials have prefaced their deliberations on the matter by saying that they are happy with the job that the sheriff’s office has been doing. When he addressed the council earlier this month, Lt. Shayne Strangfield from the sheriff’s office described that entity as a “world-class agency.” He’s right, and its response to the Clackamas Town Center shooting last December should be heralded as an example of how police should respond to a live shooting event.

The city’s contract with the sheriff’s office expires in August, giving councilors a relatively tight timeframe in which to make their decision.

Councilors would be wise to solicit public opinion on this matter and consider it as part of their process. Sandy residents may also be interested in knowing how the addition of Estacada to their police department’s coverage area could potentially affect the services they receive.

It is also important that if the council decides to select Sandy over the sheriff’s office, it does so in a manner that retains the goodwill between the city and that agency.

Government agencies have been known to engage in turf wars, especially where contracts and monetary transactions are concerned. The sheriff’s office must not feel as if it’s being slighted by the city and its officials if the council switches its service provider.

Competition is generally a good thing, and it is allowing Estacada’s city councilors to choose between two very qualified entities for an extremely important service. Let’s just hope that they have the wisdom to do it in a way that makes citizens feel involved and maintains the good working relationship that the city has long had with the sheriff’s office.



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