The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department announced this week that it is moving the headquaters of its Mountain Detachment to Eatonville in an effort to save money. The “D-10,” as the unit is called, is responsible for policing duties throughout the south county, from 224th St to the Lewis County border.
North of 224th, the Sheriff deputies hub from their precinct house on 162nd St and Meridian Ave.
However, the D-10 does not cover Eatonville, which overwhelmingly rejected Mayor Ray Harper’s plan several months ago to disband the Eatonville Police department and contract with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
Nevertheless, the Sheriff’s deputies are now scheduled to move into the basement of the Eatonville Town Hall.
Although the move seems modest, some are not happy including Graham resident Matt Hamilton, who has sent the Mountain News the following statement:
Hello All, Matt Hamilton here.
I am the chair of the Graham Land Use Advisory Commission, also known as the Graham-LUAC. Part of my responsibilities is to keep the public informed on issues affecting the community, and normally we can do a pretty good job of doing so .
I was stunned to learn five days ago that our only small Sheriff’s Deputy precinct at Barny’s Corners (The smallest in Pierce County) was moving 3.25 miles south – away from the population base of Graham, Orting and Roy. Over 40,000 people will see their response times grow 5 to 7 minutes. I felt this was entirely unacceptable.
And where will they be going? To a windowless, airless basement underneath Eatonville City Hall. If one community picks up an additional 20 officers, than other communities must lose in response time .
My real concern was there was no public input. This is unheard of to make such a major move and yet no public input. I attended the Eatonville City Council meeting on Monday to urge them not to sign the 5 year lease for $190,000. They voted 5-0 to sign the lease. Nobody pays $38,000 per year for five years for a substandard basement (1,600 sq. feet). It did not make sense then, nor does it now. Yesterday, I spoke with Pierce County Councilmember Jim McCune and Council Chair Joyce McDonald and they, too, are learning about this in the last week. Yesterday, I also sought out our Sheriff Pastor and I did find him in the County Executive’s lobby. I conveyed to him my concerns, and I of course got the “The Sheriffs Department has no Money” speech. That’s the one we have heard for the past 12 years.
I don’t buy that speech;, the people of the Mountain Detachment precinct (224th St south to the Nisqually River) send in millions of dollars to the Pierce County coffers each year.
This is not the way public policy should take place. I have seen the crime heat maps, and the Sheriffs decision is exactly the opposite the direction we should be going. We have the lowest ratio of officer to citizen of anyone in Pierce County. I was hoping to have three minutes of your valuable time to state my case . My goal, of course, is to get the officers and Precinct Station that we have been paying for all along.
Chair of the Graham LUAC
February 13, 2013