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Hearing set Monday on contract for Coupeville policing services

By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News-Times Co-editor
February 22, 2014 · Updated 3:50 PM
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Sgt. Rick Norrie with the Island County Sheriff's Office will become the acting Coupeville marshal under a proposed contract. / Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times

Coupeville residents will likely have their last chance Monday night to comment on plans to disband the town marshal’s office.

Island County commissioners are holding a public hearing and are scheduled to consider an interlocal agreement, under which the Island County Sheriff’s Office will effectively take over the marshal’s office and provide policing services for an estimated $440,000 a year.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m., Feb. 24 in the county commissioners’ hearing room in the courthouse.

It’s nearly a sure thing. The sheriff’s office largely took over policing duties in Coupeville this month after the only remaining deputy marshal was arrested.

Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard first approached Sheriff Mark Brown about the possibility of such an agreement after the marshal’s office started having staffing difficulties in fall 2012.

The department lost three-quarters of its police force during a three-month period, largely due to pay issues.

The agreement, however, means that Marshal Lance Davenport will soon be out of a job as Rick Norrie, a sergeant with the sheriff’s office, takes over.

Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson said she and her colleagues discussed the proposal earlier this month and are all very supportive.

“It makes sense when you consider the economies of scale,” she said. “We in government need to find ways to be more resourceful with tax dollars.”

Under the proposed agreement, the sheriff’s office will provide the town with two dedicated employees. Norrie will serve as town marshal and will have a deputy dedicated to the department.

Norrie and the deputy will wear Coupeville Marshal’s Office uniforms and drive Coupeville patrol cars. Town officials will continue to direct law enforcement priorities and Norrie will work closely with Conard.

 

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