|2/21/2013 2:09:00 PM ||Email this article Print this article |
|Brewster police, Pateros discuss potential services|
Jennifer Marshall Best
Herald Staff Writer
PATEROS - Seven years after the city of Pateros turned to the Okanogan County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement services, the discussion is on the table again to possibly contract with the Brewster Police Department.
Brewster Police Chief Ron Oules and Mayor Lee Webster were invited to speak at Tuesday night's Pateros City Council meeting, and they left with a plan to gather more information for the city.
"I firmly believe that you would get better service out of our police department than you would the county," Webster said, adding that he also believes the county does provide "great service."
"I'm not going to be negative about the sheriff's office; Frank [Rogers] runs a very good department and does excellent work," Oules said. "But I definitely believe that for the city of Pateros, we could provide more services for the same amount of money."
Oules cited a quicker response time as one perk for residents.
"When there is an emergency call to Pateros, Brewster shows up first," he said.
Another benefit, he said, would be routine patrols through the city and the school.
"I can't say that we would be in Pateros every single day; I guarantee you we'd be in your schools several times a week during those busy times - before school, lunch periods, after school," Oules said. "I don't see any loss to Pateros, only true gain in terms of patrol time and services readily available."
With the police department's recent restoration of its sixth officer position, coupled with Pateros' low crime rate - the sheriff's office reported nine incidents in January - Oules said he likely wouldn't need to hire another officer.
The city pays the sheriff's office $65,000 per year, and that includes an "open" agreement wherein deputies patrol when they're in the area, rather than on a set schedule, said Mayor Gail Howe.
Some negative experiences with Brewster under the former police administration, culminating with an attempt to double the cost of its services, prompted the city to contract with the county in June 2005, Howe said.
Council members Christine Perry, John LaBree and Ryan Greene all agreed the city should do its due diligence in comparing services. George Brady said he's "not unhappy" with the county, but requested a proposal.
Oules will meet this Thursday with the city's safety committee.
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