Mayor looks at contracting for law enforcement

Contracting with the Island County Sheriff’s Office is one option Langley Mayor Tim Callison is looking into for providing law enforcement in the city moving forward.

Callison said he plans to speak with the council about different ideas and stressed that he was only exploring the possibility of contracting with the sheriff’s office. Finalizing a contract, he said, would probably mean waiting until after a new sheriff is chosen in this November’s election.

Callison fired David Marks, the former police chief, a month ago following investigations into allegations that he used excessive force when arresting a man in November 2017. Officer Don Lauer was named as interim police chief.

Callison said he doesn’t see any immediate problem with the department running with three officers instead of four. Reserve officers can fill in when needed.

“It ran as a two-man department for a very long time,” he said.

Sheriff Mark Brown said he talked to Callison about the approximate cost of contracting for law enforcement and how staffing would be structured. He said he’s open to the idea but is not aggressively pursing any proposal.

“The idea has to come from them,” he said, referring to Langley officials.

A contract between Langley and the sheriff’s office would likely be similar to Coupeville’s contract with the sheriff’s office, Brown said.

Coupeville officials agreed to contract with the sheriff’s office in 2014, following staffing problems. The contract represented a small savings for the town at the time.

Under the arrangement, the sheriff names someone from his department as the town marshal and provides an additional deputy. The officers wear Coupeville Marshal’s Office uniforms and drive Coupeville patrol cars.

The sheriff has the ultimate authority over the department, but the officers work with town officials to set priorities for law enforcement.

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