Putting on the summer patrols
Extra duty officers will patrol Medical Lake's parks on weekends
Last updated 6/24/2021 at 2:06pm
MEDICAL LAKE - The city's parks are getting extra attention this summer. The Medical Lake City Council approved an extra duty service contract at their June 15 meeting. The contract will allow duty officers to patrol Medical Lake parks on weekends.
This contract comes after reports of violations on the public property. Dogs and alcohol are not permitted on park grounds, a rule not everyone has followed during their visits.
"We get a lot of visitors, some local and some from out of town, that aren't aware of the rules or aren't paying attention to the rules," said City Administrator Doug Ross. "Some people aren't comfortable with dogs and obviously alcohol on a hot summer day with a group of people isn't always a good mix."
Those are the kinds of incidents an extra-duty deputy would hope to reduce. While the officers would be on patrol from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., the minimum time required by their contract is four hours each day. This means the on-officer could become part-time if the city decides a police presence is no longer needed.
Most of the deputy's time will be spent at Waterfront Park and the parks nearby. According to Ross, Waterfront Park sees around 1,000 people passing through it daily. The high traffic means it needs the most attention.
A police presence is not the only summer addition. A second summer laborer has been hired to keep an eye on Medical Lake's parks. The added presence will hopefully combat reports of overflowing trash cans and other sanitary concerns. While city staff help maintain the parks, they cannot enforce the rules. They instead report any incidents to the deputy.
Ross did not want to give off the impression that the park is unsafe. "We are always trying new things to make things better as opposed to fixing something that's broken," he said.
This sentiment was made clear in the city council meeting as well. Councilwoman Elizabeth Rosenbeck noted that even if incidents are few and far between, it's important to acknowledge those experiences.
The deputies can write up tickets for visitors in violation of park rules. The city hopes the park will gain a reputation that discourages visitors from breaking park rules. If they feel a police presence is no longer necessary, they can reduce the officers' hours or end the contract completely.
As they are on-duty, the officer could technically be called away if a big enough situation arises nearby. The contract will run until Labor Day, Sept. 6, 2021.
The on-duty officers will be paid $60 per hour with an administrative overhead of $15. That comes out at $75 per deputy.
Patrol vehicles will be provided when necessary, costing $5 when used for visibility and $12 when used for traffic control. The maximum cost to the city would be $16,000, a number that will likely change due to the volunteer nature of the job.
The contract was approved on June 15. No volunteers picked up shifts on the weekend of June 19, but deputies have volunteered for the weekends of June 26 and July 3.
Riley Kankelberg can be reached at email@example.com.