Police expansion gets mixed reviews
Some councilors do not see advantages to taking on Estacada law enforcement
Sandy Police Chief Kim Yamashita says Sandy residents will not notice the fact its officers are serving 80 hours each week enforcing laws in the city of Estacada.
While that service is occurring, she said, the residents of Sandy will be just as safe as they would be if Sandy werent covering two cities.
And Yamashita has a plan to back up her statements.
Initially, she will assign one Sandy officer to Estacada for four 10-hour shifts. That vacancy in Sandy will be filled as soon as a new hire is trained and certified. The other 40 hours per week in Estacada will be covered by officers or sergeants from what she calls a relief shift, which includes extra officers on duty and available for patrol.
While sergeants are on duty, the chief will take over some of their administrative duties as well as help when another patrol officer is needed.
Most of this shifting of personnel, she said, is only for the period it takes to get a new hire trained and certified to work alone as a patrol officer in Sandy.
That time period will vary depending on where the new hire comes from: An officer coming from another department in Oregon might need only a month to be ready, while a certified officer from another state could take up to four months and an entry-level officer would need about a year of training and education to be ready to solo.
As soon as the new hire is operating alone, Yamashita said, one of the sergeants would go back to the relief shift as well as supervision of officers and other administrative work.
This is where Councilor Carl Exner inserts his concern that Sandy might lose some of its police resources in this switch.
I continue to have concerns about anything that would reduce the money or the time officers spend in Sandy, he said. If there is a moderate likelihood of that happening, I would probably vote against it.
Councilor Brian Adams also isnt buying the chiefs description. He says his main concern is that Sandy is giving two officers to Estacada, but hiring only one replacement.
He also believes the chief and sergeants will not be able to fulfill their normal administrative duties if they have to fill in as patrol officers.
With the chief and sergeants working down (in rank), Adams said, there could be some kind of negative impact on their roles. Theyre taking on responsibility for two cities, and theyre also having to backfill for resources that are being lost in Sandy.
Yamashita described the citys budget and especially the police departments budgets for the next biennium as thin.
But taking over Estacada law enforcement will help the Sandy police department get through the thin times, she said, because Estacada would pay a portion of the salary and benefits of the officers, sergeants, police chief, records manager, front office, evidence technician and a detective.
By going with Sandy, the city of Estacada is saving more than $43,000 from the price the Clackamas County Sheriffs Office would have charged the city.
The council and staff are generally in agreement with the proposal, and the city attorneys have made slight changes and have passed on the agreement that would bring more than $388,000 into city coffers.
City Manager Scott Lazenby told the council recently that he had two budgets prepared for their approval: one if they decide they want to include Estacada law enforcement and one without.
Yamashita said local residents likely would notice the difference if the city does not chose to serve Estacada because she says she would have a reduced budget.
We cut down a lot of things from the last budget cycle to this budget cycle that would hinder our services, she said.
So Sandy residents might have been looking at impacts to (police) services, had we not done this (contracted with Estacada).
Exner agrees the budget is thin, but he is not willing to sacrifice the quality of public safety.
Our budget position (without Estacada), he said, would require significant changes to be sure we keep our officers in Sandy.
Adams agrees and said hed be in favor of looking for creative solutions to the crisis and finding ways to keep police resources in Sandy.
Councilors must look at the attorney-approved and staff-recommended pact one more time before they vote.
If approved, the hiring process would not begin until positions shift and revenue begins flowing from Estacada to Sandy, Yamashita said.Add a comment