Granite Falls, county end policing talks

GRANITE FALLS — The city has ended talks with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office about contracting for police services.

City officials for years have considered the possibility of a service contract. The Granite Falls City Council voted 4-0 on Wednesday night to end the most recent discussions, which began in July.

About 30 people attended the council meeting where a petition asking to find a way to keep the city’s police department was introduced, said Mayor Haroon Saleem. Resident Catherine Anderson presented the petition with 803 signatures.

“I was just so amazed at the level of commitment, that so many just stepped forward to sign the petition,” Anderson said. “We weren’t expecting any vote. It was really a shock and really gratifying that they all came together and said, ‘Aye.’”

The idea behind the Save the Granite Falls Police Department petition and pledge campaign is for residents to fundraise to support the city’s police department, Anderson said. The Pilchuck Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money for fire and police services in Granite Falls, is sponsoring the grassroots campaign set to begin Nov. 14.

Those who pledge agree to donate a minimum of $10 per month for the next three years. The goal is to reach a combined commitment of $450,000 in three months, Anderson said.

The police department’s budget for this year is $723,000, Mayor Saleem said. He added that while he respects the council’s decision, he is skeptical that the campaign will offer sustainable funding and donations can’t be used to pay officer salaries or benefits.

“The council voted for that plan and believes it will work although I do disagree,” Saleem said. “Now we have to sit down and figure out how this plan is going to work and how I can help to, at the very least, give my sincere effort to make this plan work.”

Councilman Tom FitzGerald didn’t attend the meeting. For more information about the pledge drive contact Catherine Anderson at 360-925-6069 or email catherine.anderson@pilchuckfoundation.org.

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

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