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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Valley council moves ahead on proposal for more police

Spokane Valley took another step this week toward putting more police on the streets.

City Council members want the budget scoured to find as much as $423,000 needed to pay for the proposal, which wasn’t included in Spokane Valley’s current annual spending plan that was put together last year. The plan also includes some equipment upgrades.

Mayor Dean Grafos said Tuesday night he hopes they can find a way to at least get the process started this year and would like to see a formal proposal soon.

Under the plan, which was rolled out in February, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office would hire two additional deputies and reorganize its Valley patrol division to create a fifth platoon that would augment staffing during the busiest hours of the day.

The city pays the Sheriff’s Office about $17 million a year to provide law enforcement coverage under a contract that dedicates a little more than 100 deputies to Spokane Valley, with nearly half of them assigned to patrol duties. The others include administrators, supervisors, detectives and school resource officers. The city also provides a police station, equipment and vehicles.

Under the proposed reorganization, the rank of corporal would be eliminated and the positions redistributed. Three would be upgraded to sergeants, two would be turned into detectives and one position converted to patrol deputy in the new platoon.

The two new deputies plus one deputy from each of the existing four platoons would be transferred to the new “power shift” platoon. The deputies would augment staffing by working from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., which overlaps the day and night shifts and is when Spokane Valley sees its greatest demand for police services.

Finance Director Mark Calhoun said the city likely wouldn’t need the full estimated amount in the current year. The total annual cost estimate includes about $350,000 in annual pay and benefits for the additional deputies, and the pay bump for the promoted sergeants, but the actual cost for the current year would be less because the city would only have to cover the remaining months in 2014 once they were hired.