Snoqualmie Police hire new officers to prep for serving in North Bend
October 2, 2013
By Sherry Grindeland
Adding a whole city to the service area doesn’t happen overnight for the Snoqualmie Police Department. It takes months of planning and implementation said Snoqualmie Police Chief Steven McCulley.
Officially the city of Snoqualmie Police will include the city of North Bend in their beat beginning March 8, 2014. Currently, North Bend contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Office for police services.
North Bend made the change for two reasons: to guarantee a police officer would be present in the city limits at all times and to save money.
Initially the city expected to save about $350,000 a year out of the $1.2 million it pays King County. But it doesn’t quite pencil out that way, said North Bend City Administrator Londi Lindell. She explained the costs were complicated. The $1.2 million doesn’t include salaries for city staff who work in the sheriff’s office and other administrative costs. The projected savings is now about $200,000 a year.
McCulley and his staff have been gearing up for the expanded operation since an inter-local agreement between the two cities was signed Sept. 10, 2012. He expects the transition to be seamless when they take over at 0001 hours March 8.
“We’ve been brainstorming with everyone from the union to our sergeants,” McCulley said.
McCulley recently was at a North Bend City Council meeting to give a status update.
Four of the additional seven police officers required to serve the expanded two-city area have been hired and have started training.
• Dmitriy Vladis from the Maui County Police Department. He and his wife are originally from Kirkland.
• Anthony Graham from the Sequim Police Department. Graham is a former National Parks Police Officer.
• Daniel Goddard, a records technician from the Issaquah Police Department and a former Sheriff’s deputy and police officer from Georgia.
• Todd Wilson from the Mercer Island Police Department, with detective and SWAT officer experience.
Another three officers will be hired and start training before the end of 2013. Three support staff members and one records technician will also be added to the department.
In case of a major incident, the Snoqualmie Police have an even bigger back-up team. They’re one of 14 departments in the Coalition of Small Police Agencies. These include Algona, Black Diamond, Clyde Hill, Yarrow Point, Duvall, Carnation, Enumclaw, Issaquah, Lake Forest Park, Medina, Hunts Point, Normandy Park and Pacific.
McCulley said the Department will be providing North Bend with the same kinds of services they already give to Snoqualmie. In addition to typical response to emergency and criminal situations, police officers will help with child safety issues, emergency preparedness, residential and commercial security, vacation house checks and provide officers for community events.
He and Snoqualmie Police Department Captain Nick Almquist are already meeting regularly with Chief Mark Toner and Londi Lindell of the King County Sheriff’s Office station in North Bend.
“On our recent survey, citizens have us a 96 percent excellent or good rating,” McCulley said. “We intend to provide that same kind of service to North Bend.”
The Snoqualmie Police Department has a long history – it was founded in 1903, making it one of the older police departments in the state.
There’s already one visible sign of the pending change – a new police vehicle has the names of both cities on the side. There are several things still on the transition check list for the Police Department.
One is cross training – Sno-qualmie officers and King County sheriffs will be doing patrol work together as part of the transition. Another is a commemorative patch for police officers.
But all that is window dressing for McCulley’s ultimate goal – cities where the citizens feel safe.
“Everyone should be comfortable walking down the street at night,” he said.