Amity council approves sheriff’s office contract

AMITY — Amity’s police department will be a thing of the past at the end of this month.

The Amity City Council approved a law enforcement services contract with the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday night. The parties agreed to a 19-month contract for $19,531.03 per month, or $136,717.21, for the first seven months, starting Saturday, Dec. 1.

Cost for the following 12-month period beginning July 1, 2019 has not been determined. The city will pay either the monthly rate of $19,531.03, plus 7 percent, or the cost of 2.0 FTE Step 3 deputies as reflected in the new collective bargaining agreement for 2019-22, whichever is less.

One FTE will provide the city with about 2,080 hours of service a year, less time used for purposes that include leaves authorized by the contract or federal/state law, court time and training.

Sheriff Tim Svenson, who attended the meeting and answered questions from citizens, said deputies work either five eight-hour or four 10-hour shifts weekly.
The city will determine deputy schedules and the county will try to accommodate the desired schedules. 

“I am unaware of any other options other than to contract with the sheriff’s office,” Mayor Michael Cape said. “We have done our due diligence. It’s up to the council to move forward.”

The police department’s second in command, Sgt. James Clark, agreed with what Cape said, telling attendees at the council meeting that no other options exist. “We’re running out of time.”

Mike Brandt, a reserve on the force for five years, also agreed.

“You need law enforcement,” he said. “I want you protected. We have to accept the decision and quit fighting among ourselves.”

Cape encouraged citizens to “quit saying mean and hateful things” about each other. He said he realizes opinions differ on whether to retain a department or contract with the sheriff’s office. He has no problem with people expressing various opinions.

“But to belittle people and to lie does no good at all,” Cape said. “It divides the town and creates bitter feelings.”

Cape said it’s always been his intention as the mayor to help make Amity a better place to live. No one decides to serve in a volunteer position like the mayor or a city councilor with the intention of “tearing down the community.” 

He expressed his appreciation for the job outgoing chief Chris Bolek has done, for Clark’s contribution to the department and for Dan Brown’s service as chief prior to Bolek’s arrival.

Bolek announced earlier this year he planned to retire.

Clark intends to leave Amity, move his family and take a job in law enforcement out of state by the end of the year.

“I’ll always hold the citizens of Amity close to my heart,” Clark said.