Letter to the City of Winlock from Sheriff Snaza

In a letter dated June 27, 2018, Sheriff Rob Snaza notified the City of Winlock that he has stopped the Winlock Police Department from assisting in the county anywhere.

In the letter, Sheriff Snaza goes on to state that "I am not commissioning/ authorizing the authority of the WPD personnel, exclusive of within the city limits of Winlock, to enforce the traffic or criminal laws of this state throughout the territorial bounds of Lewis County." What this basically means is that Sheriff Snaza will not allow Winlock to assist them in any situation and they have no authority outside of Winlock as other municipalities do.

It is standard in neighboring law enforcement agencies to enter into a mutual aid agreement in order to assist each other when needed. The letter goes on to state that "this decision is based upon the reestablishment of the WPD and being unfamiliar with the training, qualifications and certifications of your personnel.

In time, as your department is stabilized and ensuing professional working relationships/partnerships are developed I may readdress this and authorize such authority."

When you become a Lewis County Sheriff deputy, you have 10 to 12 weeks training with a Field Training Officer regardless of your experience. Winlock and then Winlock-Toledo, has always had an inter-local agreement with the County and a great relationship for years. Winlock Police Department has not done any training with the Sheriff's office or any other local neighboring city.

The letter goes on to state that "Also, once police services are relinquished from Toledo Police Department and fall back under the direct oversight of WPD, we will not be in a position to cover your departments evidence storage needs and your agency will need to assume all responsibilities and costs associated with the city's drug drop box located at Winlock City Hall."

Since the Sheriff's office will need to assist Winlock on different occasions the letter also included "If your agency is not available to respond, the Lewis County Sheriff's office will respond to calls in progress for service when no city officers are available or when the city requests assistance for investigative purposes. In such instances, effective the date WPD is reestablished, the City of Winlock may be billed $69.16 per hour for a minimum of two (2) or four(4) hours depending upon call necessity and staff availability, from the time our personnel are dispatched to the call until completion.

In the conversation the Town Crier had with Sheriff Snaza, he stated "there is enough concern and in the best interest of Lewis County and Winlock, that the Winlock Police Department not engage in our activities. He has stated "With limited information we have on training and experience, we will be making a decision at the end of the year. I don't have any intentions of having them assist in Lewis County." Again, if Sheriff Snaza isn't comfortable having Winlock PD assist the county, how can the citizen feel safe having them taking care of our own town?

The Town Crier reach out to Mayor Bradshaw for comments, but did not receive any at press time.