Mayor: Langley should retain its police force

Langley should continue running its own police force and not join forces with the Island County sheriff, Mayor Tim Callison advised the city council Monday.

“I recommend that the Langley Police Department remains a separate municipal police force and we do not enter into negotiations with the Island County Sheriff’s Office at this time,” Callison said.

The council members informally agreed with the mayor, but they put off a final vote for two weeks when Councilwoman Christy Korrow, who was absent, will return.

The possible new arrangement was suggested by the council following the controversy over Langley’s former police chief. The city council is also taking a thorough look at police policy; its report is expected soon.

The mayor reviewed the option of transitioning the Langley Police Department to a subcontracted service of the county sheriff, similar to Coupeville’s arrangement.

Callison compared costs of its current police budget versus subcontracting with the county. Langley’s police force costs the city $457,009. Contracting with the sheriff’s office for two full-time dayshift deputies, along with night call, support services and supplies add up to $459,753, Callison wrote in a prepared report.

After reviewing costs, interviewing Langley police officers and weighing pros and cons, Callison concluded it best to not make changes.

“It would be prudent for the city to undertake this evaluation on a periodic basis, maybe even every three years,” he said.

Callison looked at Coupeville, which contracts law enforcement services with the county. The sheriff’s office provides two law enforcement offices for the Coupeville Marshal’s Office.

In 2015, Coupeville approved a three-year contract to pay the county about $440,000 for two sheriff officers and to guide and budget the marshal’s office; law enforcement policies remain with the town council. That contract is up for renewal.

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