The officers didn't meet Snohomish County Sheriff's Office standards and were not hired, officials said.
One of those officers is Cmdr. Fred Havener, who has been on the Snohomish force for seven years.
In an e-mail to co-workers, Havener said the sheriff's office determined he did not meet their standards.
"What this means for me and my future is uncertain at this time, but one thing is certain, I will not be joining you at the change of the new year," he wrote. "If you are the sort that believes in prayer, then I surely would appreciate a good word upstairs from you. If not, your best wishes are appreciated."
Havener urged his colleagues to honor his service by supporting incoming Police Chief John Flood, a longtime sheriff's lieutenant.
Flood replaces Snohomish Police Chief John Turner.
"It's very difficult and really sad," Snohomish Mayor Karen Guzak said. "I'm very sad and that's not at all what we expected. The sheriff's office has their process for new hires and they have gone through their process. And I don't know that there is any recourse."
Guzak said she is confident the city will be well served in the long term with the sheriff's office.
Snohomish City Council members voted 4-3 to contract for police services during the next five years.
The move is expected to save $2 million over the five years, including $378,000 in the first year.
Snohomish now has 18 commissioned police officers and the contract specifies that the size of the department will remain the same.
Snohomish officers wanting jobs with the sheriff's officers were required to apply.
As part of the hiring process, they had to go through background checks, polygraphs, medical exams and psychological exams.
"If you fail any of those steps, you are removed from the hiring process," said Kevin Prentiss, sheriff's office bureau chief.
Prentiss said officers were required to meet minimum standards.
"Our process is a pretty standard process," he said.
Even so, background checks are much more extensive than they were 20 years ago, he said. For instance, reviews are made of posts from candidates on Facebook and other social media sites, Prentiss said.
The sheriff's office contract with the city begins Jan. 1.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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