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Contract with county sheriff is a win for Troutdale residents

Troutdale City Council will determine the future of policing in our city when it meets on Tuesday, March 24. I want you to know why I believe it’s in our best interest to contract law enforcement services with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

In 2013 our City Council set goals that would improve and support livability in Troutdale. We believe strongly that we should promote fiscal solvency. Measures were developed that could promote the pooling of resources with neighboring jurisdictions, consider other options for providing life-safety services, and, as good stewards of our resources, strive to maintain or grow reserve funds throughout the budget process.

In essence, Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton and Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson have delivered a proposal that mirrors the goals we codified by providing significant cost savings and greater value for our money while enhancing police capacity.

Troutdale Mayor Doug DaoustFor annual ongoing police operations, excluding the first year implementation transition costs, the contract option is estimated to be about $1.1 million less costly than continuing the existing city department. Given our budget constraints and financial projections, this proposal provides significant relief.

Over the past seven years the city Budget Committee authorized about $812,000 in reserve funds to supplement our general fund in order to avoid additional employee layoffs and maintain our current service level.

Next month the Budget Committee will again face difficult challenges to maintain our service level and avoid layoffs unless we approve this contract.

Most importantly, Chief Anderson has made his case for needing additional staff to have supervisors on duty around the clock with two dedicated district patrol officers. This not only presents issues of officer and public safety, but also is a significant liability issue for the city. Our officers and citizens deserve the staffing level that provides a professional and immediate response to emergencies.

This proposal provides for 24/7 supervision and two dedicated patrol officers serving Troutdale at an additional no-cost value of $307,000.

Other benefits include access to full-service investigations and crime analysis, 24/7 counter service, dedicated training unit, full-service property control, dedicated river patrol unit, enhanced reserve unit, search and rescue services, citizens academy and community resource officer.

We first started the public process on this consolidation proposal by having work sessions on April 1 and May 6 of last year. The Outlook and Oregonian covered the story and the public was invited to participate.

The negotiating team for the city consisted of our city manager, finance director and two city counselors. We convened our fourth public meeting on March 3, 2015, to brief the entire City Council and community on the developments of the negotiation process. Two Agreements were introduced.

One covered the contract for law-enforcement services and the other for the lease of the Troutdale Police Community Center. The city will maintain ownership of the building forever. Under this proposal, Multnomah County will lease a portion of the space from the city for approximately $216,000 a year.

Our community has voiced concerns regarding local control and identity. Those issues have been adequately addressed in the agreement. The law-enforcement personnel who will patrol in Troutdale will display the Troutdale brand on both their uniforms and patrol vehicles.

Chief Anderson will remain the chief of police, and most of our officers that now patrol our streets will continue to do so for a guaranteed period of time

This is a critical time for the future of public safety in Troutdale. I have evaluated this consolidation proposal as a business plan and agree that it is a win for the city, the county and the employees.

Our police officers support the proposal. We cannot afford to allow this to become a missed opportunity.

Doug Daoust is mayor of Troutdale.

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