Developer requested a continuance of the hearing into 2018 to allow for more community outreach on its part.

In its final regular meeting of the year Monday, Dec. 11, the West Linn City Council completed the procedural matter of pushing one issue forward into 2018 while also approving a number of less controversial proposals.

Following a work session Dec. 4 on the nuances of the "development agreement" recently proposed by developer Tannler Properties, LLC, for a project on an 11-acre slice of land off Tannler Drive, the council originally intended to hold a public hearing and debate the issue at the Dec. 11 meeting. Tannler Properties, however, requested a continuance of the hearing into 2018 to allow for more community outreach on its part.

The council was amenable to that suggestion, and voted unanimously Monday to continue the hearing Feb. 12, 2018.

Police records system

As part of its consent agenda — which includes a series of items approved in one swath rather than individually — the council approved a five-year contract with the police records and report management software company Mark43, Inc.

The move was a final step in the process of abandoning the Regional Justice Information Network (RegJIN), which the West Linn Police joined in April 2015. While RegJIN was expected to modernize police recordkeeping through a network of 41 local departments, acting West Linn Police Chief Neil Hennelly said it proved to be difficult to use and did not fit the department's style. This past summer, WLPD and several other departments announced they would be leaving the network.

Shortly after that announcement, WLPD set its sights on Mark43 — a web-based program that Hennelly said is based on the Amazon platform. The contract approved by the council Monday is for just over $151,500 over five years.

"Yearly costs for Mark43 are close to RegJIN, although slightly more," Hennelly wrote in a memo to the City Council. "The added cost will be made up in the ease of use, freeing up officers time to be on patrol."

Background checks

The council also voted unanimously Monday to repeal an ordinance that requires that pre-employment background checks for prospective City employees be done by the West Linn Police Department.

The reason for this was simple: According to a memo from Human Resources Director Elissa Preston, that ordinance "does not allow the City of West Linn to comply with employment law."

"West Linn Police are limited by LEDS (Law Enforcement Database System) certification," Preston said in a staff presentation at the meeting. "They can tell if there's a criminal record or no criminal record, but that's all the information they can give us."

And a "criminal record," in this case, could pop up even if the individual was arrested but not convicted. Employers are only allowed to consider convictions as a criminal record, thus leading to the problems the City has experienced over the years.

"We've had a situation where someone had an arrest 30 years ago, but on the LEDS system it just came up as a record," Preston said. "They didn't know what record we were referring to, and in the end there was no criminal record."

The process of arriving at that conclusion created a delay in the hiring process, Preston said, and also opened the City up to potential legal action.

In recent years the City has used a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) agency for background checks to alleviate the problem, while still using WLPD as required by local law.

"HR has been duplicating the work," Preston said in her memo.

With the ordinance now repealed, the City will simply continue to use the FCRA agency for background checks.

West Linn Tidings reporter Patrick Malee can be reached at 503-636-1281 Ext. 106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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