Early this year, Snoqualmie City Council members Matt Larson and Greg Fullington had a meeting with representatives of the King County Sheriff’s Office to discuss contracting out our police services to King County, which would result in dissolving our local police department. They cited cost savings as the driving factor behind this action. These same council members proposed dissolving our police department a few years back and no action was taken at that time.
Council members Matt Larson and Greg Fullington invited representatives of the King County Sheriff’s Office to be present at the March 14 council meeting when they initiated discussions with the mayor and the balance of the City Council members. As a result, these same King County representatives were invited to the March 28 council meeting to outline the various levels of services that can be purchased through a contract with their office.
We feel these actions and the manner in which they began are divisive to our community and have caused unwarranted stress and loss of morale within our police department. We support our local police and value the protection and service they provide our community. The Snoqualmie police and fire departments provide critical and invaluable public safety services to our citizens, businesses and schools. Their positive presence has a vital impact on the quality of life in our community. Consider the cost of losing this department that knows our needs so well.
While the King County Sheriff’s Office is capable of providing police services, it will not be able to duplicate the level of service and commitment we receive from having our own dedicated department at a comparable cost. Based on the history of other contract cities, any potential savings would be insignificant and certainly short-lived. To cut costs, we suggest council first prioritize all budget expenditures and reduce or cut those at the bottom of the list first, or those that are future discretionary expenditures. We put our police and fire services at the top of the list and while all expenditures require discretion and fiscal management, eliminating a vital and valued service must not be an option.
Councilman Matt Larson suggested connecting an increase in our property tax levy to police services, allowing a six-year increase. He seems convinced that taxing the citizens is the only solution to the city’s budget constraints. It is unfortunate this issue was brought up just prior to police union contract negotiations. Our police force should not be used as a bargaining tool for any purpose.
We encourage our city leaders to foster a safe community for our families and loved ones. We value our police and appreciate all they do for our community. We encourage Snoqualmie residents to contact your council members, express your concerns and voice your support for our Snoqualmie Police Department and the critical services they provide to us.
On April 25 at 6 p.m., a “round table” session will be held prior to the regular 7 p.m. council meeting at the new fire station on the Parkway. Snoqualmie Police Chief Jim Schaffer will give a presentation of the services our local police provide. Please plan to attend and express your support.
Gil Tumey and Marcia
Korich, members of
Our Snoqualmie Police