Three-month agreement provides 7-day-a-week coverage
By Don Nelson
The Town of Winthrop has agreed to a three-month contract under which the Twisp Police Department will provide temporary law enforcement coverage in Winthrop.
The Winthrop Town Council approved the agreement at its meeting last week.
Under the agreement, Winthrop will pay Twisp $17,000 a month for coverage of 10 hours a day, seven days a week “split between Twisp and Winthrop as case load may dictate.”
Twisp Police Chief Paul Budrow will remain under the direct supervision of Mayor Soo Ing-Moody and won’t report to any Winthrop town officials.
The agreement covers transfer of people in custody to the Okanogan County jail, and court appearances as necessary. All personnel, equipment and other related expenses will be covered by Twisp.
Winthrop has been without any formal police protection since Mayor Anne Acheson fired Marshal Hal Henning on Feb. 22. Acheson said earlier that the town is continuing to recruit candidates for the vacant positions of marshal and deputy marshal.
Henning is reportedly pursuing a legal action against the city related to his firing. He was discharged after filing a formal complaint against Acheson, alleging that the town had reneged on assurances that he would have control over his department.
It’s unclear at this point what might happen when the three-month contract expires. Efforts to attract qualified officers to fill vacancies in Winthrop have taken longer than that in recent years. Twisp, which now has three full-time officers, may need all of them to handle increased activities during the summer months.
The agreement does not include any provision for the Twisp police clerk to handle tasks now handled by the Marshal’s Office clerk in Winthrop. The clerk’s position has been the focus of Winthrop council discussion about whether it is needed. Acheson urged that the council approve the service contract and continue discussion of the clerk’s position independently.
Acheson said she has also met with Ing-Moody to discuss long-term options, including a merger of the town’s police departments.
Before he was fired, Henning had developed a proposal to eliminate the police clerk’s position, including information he said supported that proposal. In his formal complaint against Acheson, Henning said the mayor had not allowed him to bring that proposal before the Town Council.