Clallam deputies to assist Forks police

The county Sheriff’s Office will provide one or more deputies on an as-needed basis while the city recruits two officers to fill a pair of vacancies, officials said.

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County has inked an agreement with the city of Forks to provide supplemental law enforcement for the city.

The three commissioners approved the budget-neutral agreement by unanimous vote Tuesday.

The county Sheriff’s Office will provide one or more deputies on an as-needed basis while the city recruits two officers to fill a pair of vacancies, officials said.

Sheriff Bill Benedict said the pay-as-you-go agreement will be revenue-neutral for the county.

“We’re essentially billing for our costs, which are going to be mostly overtime costs,” Benedict told commissioners.

“If we can handle their calls just in the course of our normal duties, we’re not going to charge for that [overtime].”

The base rate in the agreement is $43 per hour and the overtime rate is $58 per hour.

The city-commissioned West End deputy or deputies also will be compensated for on-call time, Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King has said.

“Law enforcement-wise across the state, personnel and manpower shortages are plaguing everybody,” King said in a Sept. 6 work session.

Forks Police Chief Rick Bart requested the services in late August after two officers left for other agencies, King said.

“They’re down to actually three officers,” said King, a former West End sheriff’s sergeant.

“They can’t provide the 24-hour law enforcement service that they have traditionally done.

“The Sheriff’s Office historically has provided law enforcement services to the city when they’re faced with these similar shortages,” King added.

“However, this agreement is more on a per-diem basis versus our traditional role just to provide them a deputy for an eight-hour or 10-hour shift.”

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office has three deputies living in the greater Forks area, and two of them are former Forks police officers, King said.

The agreement with the city will continue until it is modified or terminated by the parties.

Forks Mayor Bryon Monohon signed the agreement Sept. 12.

Commissioner Bill Peach, whose district encompasses the West End, thanked Benedict for “stepping in and giving a hand at a time when the city needs that assistance.”

In other board action, commissioners Tuesday approved a $376,212 agreement with Building Control Systems Inc. for the installation of a camera and recording system for the Clallam County jail.

The Lynnwood company submitted the lowest of two bids that commissioners opened Sept. 13.

“The costs for this are already in the REET [Real Estate Excise Tax] 2 project fund,” County Administrator Jim Jones said.

Clallam County Parks, Fair and Facilities Director Joel Winborn said the installation of the camera and recording system should be completed by the end of this year.

Commissioners also observed a moment of silence for Gabe Rygaard, a former county commissioner candidate who was killed in a three-vehicle wreck west of Port Angeles on Friday.

Rygaard, a Port Angeles logger, former “Ax Men” reality TV star and father of three, was 45.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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