North island sheriff’s precinct deemed unusable

The north precinct for the Island County Sheriff’s office, located on Schay Road, is in poor condition, and the county is seeking to move their operations. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

The north precinct for the Island County Sheriff’s Office has been deemed unsuitable, and the county is seeking a new location.

Larry Van Horn, director of facilities management, and Chief Rick Felici informed the Board of Island County Commissioners of the building’s condition.

The septic field at the current precinct, located off of Schay Road, failed. Large tree roots have grown into the drainage field to the point where it’s unusable, and the septic tank must be pumped every six months.

This problem only became known a few months ago, Van Horn said.

The other issue with the site has always existed. Because of its isolated location, no internet providers will extend service to the building.

“It’s like 1995 dial-up speed; it’s not appropriate for law enforcement,” Van Horn said.

Officers cannot complete evidence reports and upload them to the main server. Officers at that site can’t do any internet training and even the ability to use email is sporadic.

The building is 1,000 square feet and has been outgrown, said Van Horn.

The county facilities department and sheriff’s office are just starting a search for a new precinct.

The county commissioners expressed their desire for the department to share or lease an existing site rather than build a new one.

Van Horn said they are considering leasing an underutilized fire station north of Oak Harbor or sharing a space with another agency in the area.