Estacada councilor examines the departments operations as city considers changing police coverage contract

When Estacada City Councilor Sean Drinkwine first campaigned for that office, his platform included improving public safety coverage for residents.

Drinkwine’s efforts to do so continued on the evening of Friday, March 15, when he did a ride-along with members of the Sandy Police Department.

The city of Estacada has long contracted for its law enforcement services with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. But Drinkwine and other city officials are considering tapping Sandy police for those same services when its current contract with the sheriff's office expires at the end of August.

Drinkwine said he first started looking into the possibility about a year ago. He was attending a dinner hosted by the League of Oregon Cities, and officials from the city of Sandy were present, including Police Chief Kim Yamashita. The idea of combining some services across the different municipalities was brought up, and Drinkwine was receptive to it.

A survey of Estacada residents was conducted last year asking what they wanted to see with regard to police coverage. Increased officer presence was a constant reply from citizens.

“That was a big one,” Drinkwine said.

Residents indicated they wanted 24-hour law enforcement coverage but weren’t willing to pay more than they already do to make that happen.

“They made that very clear,” Drinkwine said. “They wanted better service.”

Yamashita gave a presentation to the council during its Feb. 25 meeting, detailing the services that Sandy police could offer to Estacada and its citizens. A similar presentation had been given during the council’s Feb. 11 meeting by sheriff's Lt. Shayne Strangfield.

Drinkwine spent six hours riding with multiple Sandy police officers, and he was impressed by what he saw.

“They’re the kind of people you want working in your city,” he said.

During his ride-along, Drinkwine witnessed multiple traffic stops, and said the officers handled them professionally. A young woman was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants, Drinkwine said, but the Sandy officers treated her well throughout the ordeal.

“They never once made her feel indignant,” Drinkwine said. “They didn’t degrade her.”

As part of his fact-finding mission, Drinkwine toured the Sandy police station with Yamashita. He describes the facility as “state of the art,” and was particularly impressed with the command center set up in the building to respond to emergency situations.

“They have a lot to offer us,” Drinkwine said.

Many Sandy officers live in the area, he added, which will help ensure rapid response times.

“These guys grew up here,” Drinkwine said. “That’s good for us too.”

Drinkwine said he would like to add the services of a school resource officer to the city’s law enforcement contract. The Estacada School District had funded such a position previously but had to stop because of budget cuts.

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