Granite Falls to vote on replacing police with deputies

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by TERESA YUAN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @TeresaYuan

KING5.com

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 3 at 10:40 AM

GRANITE FALLS -- The Granite Falls City Council will vote Wednesday night whether to close it's police department and contract the Snohomish County Sheriff’S Office.

The proposal was made in order to cope with the city's shrinking budget. The Granite Falls Police Department receives a large chunk of the city’s general fund.
   
Under the proposal, Granite Falls would pay Snohomish County for the equivalent of 3.6 sheriff's deputies. Currently, the police department has five paid, full-time officers. Granite Falls would become part of the sheriff’s beat -- around 60 square miles.

Residents worry they'll receive slower service and notice a lack of police presence in the community.

"We don't want to worry that our nearest police officer, if we need help, is 8, 9, 10 minutes away. We want to know that in a minute or so, we're going to have a police officer, skippy-quick, right there, " said Ken Shefveland with the Pilchuck Foundation.

A group of citizens want the city to consider another alternative: cut the police force down from five to four officers and the Pilchuck Foundation will help fundraiser. They’re asking residents to pledge a donation $10 or more a month.

The goal is to raise more than $100,000 a year for police training and equipment. And raise more than $450,000 over three years.
       
But some city leaders say there's huge benefit to contracting out with the county.

"If we contract with the county, they're a huge organization compared to us, they can weather [issues.] If we sign a contract, whatever police coverage we sign up for, we get, no downside risks. If a car breaks it's their problem to deal with. If two cars break for us, it would be a financial disaster," said Fred Cruger with the Granite Falls Planning Commission.

The vote is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.

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