Winlock cancels meeting to select police provider

Stephen Floyd

A special meeting on Monday of the Winlock City Council to select a long-term law enforcement option has been cancelled as city staff do not expect to have all the information requested by the council before that date.

While members of the council had indicated they wished to meet Monday to potentially make their decision after receiving a bid from the Lewis County Sheriff's Office May 27, City Clerk Theda Curry confirmed Friday the special meeting has been cancelled and the council will instead discuss the issue during a workshop before their next regular meeting June 8.

Curry stated, during the workshop, the council will not be permitted to make any decisions, but law enforcement options are expected to be part of the agenda for the regular meeting, in case the council wishes to take action at that time.

"It kind of leaves it open-ended," said Curry of the meeting, stating the option remains for the council to decide that night or table the issue, if they so choose.

Winlock has been exploring the issue of contracting for law enforcement after long-time Chief Terry Williams informed City Hall March 31 of his intent to retire June 30, and so far the council is considering an option from Toledo for 20 hours of patrol coverage a day at $196,000 per year, and from the Sheriff's Office for 24/7 coverage at $250,000. This compares to 10 hours per day of patrol coverage currently provided by the Winlock Police Department at a cost last year of $250,000, with Curry noting, if the city chose to contract with either agency, there would still be roughly $54,000 in non-transferable costs Winlock would still need to pay.

Toledo has indicated their coverage of the city would depend on both Winlock and Toledo's city councils approving an agreement, as well as the time it would take to hire two police officers, while the Sheriff's Office has said they would be able to begin coverage as soon as Winlock approves an agreement.

The workshop for the council is expected to being at 5 p.m. on June 8, and those interested in viewing copies of the proposals from Toledo and the Sheriff's Office, as well as estimates of Winlock's non-transferable costs, may do so at City Hall. For more information, call (360) 785-3811.