The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department says it has agreed to move its Mountain Detachment headquarters to Eatonville’s Town Hall, about three miles from its current location.
But sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer and Eatonville Mayor Ray Harper both say the move wouldn’t have an impact on Eatonville’s police department, also based in Town Hall.
“We’re not taking over police services,” Troyer said.
Last spring, Harper proposed contracting with the Sheriff’s Department as a way for the cash-strapped town to keep it head above water.
But the Town Council voted unanimously in April to reject the mayor’s proposal to disband the police force and hire the Sheriff’s Department.
Harper said he has no plans to revisit that issue. “I got beat up pretty good on that,” he said.
Troyer said the county has agreed to pay $2,500 a month for five years for space in the basement of Town Hall. He said the move would happen in April.
Harper said the lease for about 1,200 square feet is still being negotiated. He said he expects the Eatonville Town Council to vote on a lease agreement Feb. 11.
“It’s not finalized until my council gets it in front of them and finalizes it,” Harper said. “I’m sure they’ll approve it.”
Harper said the move would benefit both the Sheriff’s Department and the Town of Eatonville, which has a population of 2,785.
“For (the Sheriff’s Department) it’s a good deal because it’s more centrally located,” Harper said. “It’s good for us because they’ll have a presence in town.”
The Eatonville Police Department has four officers, including a chief. The position of a fifth officer who left last summer wasn’t replaced due to budget problems caused by declines in sales and property tax revenue, Harper said. In January, the hours of the Police Department’s secretary who handles permits were cut back from full to half time.
Troyer said the detachment headquarters will move from a leased building outside Eatonville at 40407 Eatonville Cutoff Road E., where it’s been based for 16 years. Town Hall is located about three miles southeast, at 201 Center St. W.
Troyer said the new location will be more centrally located for the detachment, which covers a 700-square-mile area from 224th Street East to Mount Rainier.
The Mountain Detachment has two sergeants and 18 deputies who provide 24-hour coverage. A minimum of two deputies is on duty for each shift.
The detachment covers the unincorporated areas of Eatonville, Roy, McKenna, Alder, Elbe, Ashford and parts of Graham, Orting and Spanaway.
Costs will be slightly less in Town Hall because the Sheriff’s Department won’t be responsible for maintenance, he said.
Harper said the town’s planning department would move out of the basement into space Eatonville’s court used before its operations were contracted out to Bonney Lake. A couple of jail cells in the basement that are no longer used would need to be removed.
The leased area would be remodeled with money paid primarily by the Sheriff’s Department, Harper said.Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647