It’s been five years since the Snoqualmie Police Department began patrolling the streets of North Bend. It took 18 months of negotiating, but the two cities finally agreed on a contract extension/new inter local police service agreement, which the North Bend City Council approved at its April 16th meeting.
During those 18 months of negotiations, North Bend also reviewed studies regarding forming its own police department and had discussions with the King County Sheriff’s Office about policing services. In the end, though, the city opted for a six-year police contract with the nearby Snoqualmie PD.
Former City Adminstrator Londi Lindell – who currently handles special projects for the city – negotiated the new contract for North Bend. She told city councilmembers it was a difficult negotiation, with both sides focused on ensuring the contract was fair to each city.
The six-year agreement comes with a significant price increase, jumping about 10% this year and then about 5% in each of the following years.
With the new contract North Bend will pay for its current eight officer model and additionally two sergeants – who will supervise and provide patrol service according to Lindell. The new contract also contains an equipment replacement fund for new vehicles.
Lindell said it became clear through the negotiations that it would be fair for city to cover the salaries of two of four current SPD sergeants. According to SPD Chief Phipps, the previous contract did allow North Bend officers some supervisory contact when needed, but the new contract will provide direct sergeant supervision.
The two recently added SPD detective positions will remain funded by Snoqualmie, with the two detectives serving only that city. Detective work – when needed in North Bend – will continue to be served by the Small Cities Major Crimes Task Force.
Chief Perry said although North Bend is smaller than Snoqualmie, the call volume is about equal between the two cities. He noted that when he took over as chief in 2017, the direct supervisory role of sergeants wasn’t included in the first contract.
North Bend will also be sharing the salary of a civilian officer with Snoqualmie – whose roles include transporting those arrested to area jails. Lindell said this allows officers to remain on patrol instead of leaving to conduct transports.
Lindell said Finance Director Dawn Lasko was consulted about the contract’s substantial cost increase. The city’s budget and future revenue projections were examined and it was determined there were sufficient funds to cover the expense. She noted the longterm contract also provides financial predictability for the city.
According to the council meeting agenda, North Bend City staff believe they achieved a police contract that serves the best interests of its citizens – continuing SPD’s ‘outstanding service’ from the past five years that included an average 4-minute response time and the ‘no call too small’ community-based policing model.
North Bend can cancel the police contract using the 18-month notice of termination clause contained in the agreement.
The North Bend City Council unanimously approved the contract. SPD Chief Phipps addressed council, saying it was an honor and privilege to work the streets of North Bend.
You can see the full Police Service Agreement in the North Bend City Council agenda HERE.