News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Contract will give Sisters more deputies

More deputies will patrol Sisters in coming years under a contract that is currently awaiting approval by the Sisters City Council.

In a workshop on Wednesday evening, February 26, council members weighed two contract options — one that would provide for a dedicated Sisters lieutenant and four deputies and one that would provide for a lieutenant and three deputies. The consensus was to go with the three-deputy option for a total annual contract cost of $771,200. The current contract costs the City of Sisters $661,000. Going with four deputies would boost the cost to $852,300.

Under the proposed contract, which is expected to come up for City Council approval at their March 11 meeting, the lieutenant would serve in a roll similar to that of a police chief, although he or she would report to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office command. The three deputies will be assigned specifically to service in Sisters.

Whether the City went with three or four deputies, there would be gaps in coverage due to uncovered shifts. With three deputies, that gap would be approximately four to five hours. However, as Councilor Richard Esterman pointed out, “It’s not like you’re going to have no coverage at all.”

There will continue to be a 24-hour west-county patrol deputy on duty, and Black Butte Ranch Police and Oregon State Police are available for emergency backup.

Councilor Andrea Blum indicated that visible law enforcement presence during busy times is the priority.

“We don’t have a crime problem here,” she said. “We have a traffic problem. I think this is going to be so much more visibly that it will really make a difference.”

Councilor Michael Preedin said that he had leaned toward the four-deputy model, but finds the three-deputy consensus acceptable.

“I prefer to err on the side of public safety,” he said. “I was kind of leaning toward four, but three is fine.”

The Council consensus was that it is better to start with three deputies and add another if it becomes necessary, rather than starting with four and potentially deciding to cut back a position.

Preedin expressed considerable satisfaction with the nearly completed outcome of months of negotiation.

“This is an incredible win-win both for the county and for us,” he said.

Mayor Chuck Ryan led a Council discussion on how best to refine language to accurately reflect the City and the Sheriff’s Office’s intention that the new contract rates will take effect when the personnel have been hired to fill the new positions created. Ryan also emphasized that the City wants to be heavily involved in the selection of the lieutenant who will serve in Sisters.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit www.frontierpartisans.com.

 

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