Effective July 1, police services in the city of Cornelius will be provided by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. For Cornelius residents, this means they will receive a higher level of overall police services because more officers will be moving in and through the Cornelius area. The partnership and contract will provide an enhanced service level and more efficient police services.

As part of the new agreement, the Sheriff’s Office will utilize the Cornelius Police Department facility for a west end precinct, placing a minimum of eight deputies in Cornelius to work the west end unincorporated area of the county in addition to those assigned to just Cornelius. These deputies will be driving in and out of Cornelius on a daily basis, providing additional law enforcement protection and partnership for Cornelius.

Over the past year, Cornelius has been exploring with Washington County and the Sheriff’s Office whether an agreement would be beneficial for the city and county. We appreciate the innovation and participation from the Sheriff’s Office. Cornelius residents will benefit from having additional patrol cars on the street and a “deep bench” of services being provided from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office will absorb some of the current management duties of the police department, which will allow us to have two additional police cars patrolling Cornelius. For several years, we have had one of our officers on loan to TriMet, focusing on buses and trains. Though TriMet fully reimbursed us for his costs, we didn’t have the benefit of our 13th officer patrolling Cornelius. We are bringing the 13th officer back to Cornelius to provide additional police protection and service.

Gene Moss will be our new police chief. Currently, he is a lieutenant with the Sheriff’s Office and has also been leading the Westside Interagency Drug and Gang Teams. Gene is very professional, sharp and approachable, and he will be a member of the city’s management team just like the other department heads. He’ll work closely with our city manager, city council and myself.

The city council and I want our police department to retain a Cornelius identity. As a result, the officers will continue to wear Cornelius uniforms and use our current police cars with Cornelius colors and identification. While we are contracting with the Sheriff’s Office, our goal has been to retain some of our current officers to keep institutional memory. In addition, currently we have only one officer who is fluent in Spanish. Half our population is Latino. As proposed, our new contingent of officers will have at least three who are bilingual in English and Spanish.

One of the benefits of having more officers patrolling and a partnership with the Sheriff’s Office is that we can provide focused enforcement for traffic, drugs, gangs and daily needs. Our police will be brought up to date with training, certifications and general requirements. The Sheriff’s Office has received a highly regarded national certification for its professionalism, procedures, processes and overall management.

I’m looking forward to the increased service we will all receive with our new law enforcement team!

Jef Dalin is mayor of the city of Cornelius.

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