Police office hours down along with budget

3:37 pm January 14th, 2013

Budget cuts are resulting in fewer hours that the Eatonville Police station is open to the public.
The reduced office hours apply only to administrative services for the public, such as filing or obtaining paperwork. There will be no impact on the time that police officers spend on duty, said police chief Jason McGuire.
The new, limited schedule has the office open three days a week for a combined 20 hours – Monday and Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Anyone requesting fingerprinting, concealed weapons permits, or copies of incident reports will have to call during these hours and schedule an appointment, McGuire said.
Anyone needing to speak to an officer about a non-emergency must call the city of Fife’s dispatch center at (253) 922-6633 and press # and 1. In a prior arrangement between Eatonville and Fife authorities, the request will be given to an Eatonville officer. If the situation is an emergency, citizens should dial 9-1-1.
McGuire assured that the “there is no reduction in current hours of police protection” for Eatonville residents. The reduction in police office hours “applies to administrative items only,” he said.
The days the office is open “were selected due to the needs of the public and the department,” McGuire said. “Our secretary is also the records clerk and receives more requests from prosecutors, insurance companies and victims on these days because of (activity involving police responses) the previous weekend.”
Eatonville’s voters turned down a levy in last November’s general election that called for additional tax revenue to help pay for the town’s public safety. The measure, which was proposed by Mayor Ray Harper and placed on the ballot by the Town Council, would have generated about $160,000 from property tax payments for the one year that the levy would have been in effect. Harper wanted the ballot measure to specify that the money would go to police and fire services, but the council chose language that indicated general municipal expenses as the purpose for the funds.
The levy would jave been in effect for one year and required voter approval in future elections to continue. Had it passed in November, it would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $100.
The Fire Department’s budget, which is separate from the police, was shored up recently with a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The award of $546,580, which beginning this month will cover personnel costs for more than two years, headed off the possibility of budget-cutting for fire protection services that likely would have included layoffs of firefighters.

Because of budget cuts, the Eatonville Police station is now open to the public only three days a week. (Jim Bryant/The Dispatch)

Because of budget cuts, the Eatonville Police station is now open to the public only three days a week. (Jim Bryant/The Dispatch)

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