Mill Creek considers outsourcing some police services

MILL CREEK — Another Snohomish County city is considering outsourcing for police services.

This month, Mill Creek officials asked Sheriff John Lovick to submit a proposal that would have deputies providing law enforcement within city limits.

City Council members asked City Manager Tim Burns to explore the idea after hearing about how much money a sheriff’s contract might save the city of Snohomish, Burns said.

Burns and Police Chief Bob Crannell met with Lovick on Sept. 15. Burns is waiting for the sheriff to submit a formal proposal, he said.

“The city did contact us, and we’re putting together some proposals,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said last week. “We’d be very happy to partner with Mill Creek for police services.”

When Burns receives a proposal, he’ll look it over and make a recommendation to the council, he said.

The sheriff’s office already is negotiating a contract with the city of Snohomish. In that city, talk of getting rid of the police department has been a major point of contention in the budget negotiations. Snohomish leaders estimate they could save up to $375,397 a year with a sheriff’s contract.

The Snohomish City Council is expected to hold a workshop in October to review the contract, City Manager Larry Bauman said.

Mill Creek councilmembers are watching what happens in Snohomish, Burns said. They are interested in how much money a contract could save Mill Creek. The details of a contract, such as how many deputies are assigned to the city, could affect the price.

“It’s just a financial look-see,” Burns said.

Mill Creek’s two-year budget through the end of 2012 is $20.7 million, with $9.1 million set aside for police. The police department has 37 employees, including 27 commissioned police officers.

The sheriff’s office serves unincorporated parts of the county, in addition to providing law enforcement services under contracts or partnerships in several communities, including Sultan, Gold Bar, Stanwood, Index and Darrington. Lovick also happens to live in Mill Creek.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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