As far as conventional wisdom goes, it's rare when more law enforcement officials have ever hurt a city and its residents.
By the end of 2011, the is set to gain a larger presence of King County Sheriff's deputies, following the King County Council's unanimous vote Tuesday for a consolidated East Precinct Command Center.
Under the consolidation, deputies who serve 10 communities in northeast and southeast King County will vacate precincts in Kenmore and Maple Valley and use about 5,200 square feet of space on the second floor of Sammamish City Hall, officials said. They are using 24,000 square feet of space at those other precincts.
Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, who represents Sammamish and northeast King County, hailed the vote as a "major step" in the reorganization of the office. County officials expect the consolidation will bring $8.6 million in net savings over 20 years.
“The efficiencies captured by this new precinct arrangement benefit both the residents of unincorporated areas and the contract cities with increased presence of law enforcement,” Lambert said in a statement.
”This innovative approach shares resources among our partner cities and revolutionizes the way we provide public safety services. Sheriff (Sue) Rahr is to be commended for her creativity in improving services while also saving money and scarce resources.”
The number of deputies who will be working out of Sammamish City Hall regularly is not expected to be large, Sgt. John Urquhart said. County officials said that number is expected to be a total of 23 people. They include senior supervisors, such as one major, three captains, detectives and about 15 sergeants.
But a total of 106 deputies, which could include sergeants, will only use the space for administrative tasks when necessary, officials said in documents. City Hall has holding cells, booking areas, gun storage lockers and interview rooms.
Urquhart said the deputies will spend most of their time in the field on patrol. They will do the majority of their work from their patrol cruisers.
Under the agreement, King County will begin paying the city of Sammamish $20 per square foot for the 5,200 square feet of space - or about $104,000 per year. That amount could go up, depending on the Consumer Price Index.
The agreement is for a 10-year lease. The city of Sammamish has the option to approve two 10-year lease extensions.
The city will pay for 36 secured parking spaces for the deputies. But King County will pay $619,500 for voice and data lines in the office area, as well as moving and furniture costs.
The second floor of City Hall has about 7,200 square feet of vacant space, county officials said in documents. After the deputies occupy the space, the remainder will be left for future city use.
In May, King County Executive Dow Constantine told the Council that the goals of the consolidation was to provide "continued public safety services to the citizens of King County in the face of dwindling public funds."
"The lease and operating expenses at the (Eastside Precinct Command Center) are less on an annual basis than the operating and maintenance costs at the two existing facilities," Constantine said that month.
The precincts in Kenmore and Maple Valley could be sold and that money will help cover improvements at Sammamish City Hall, he added.
The sheriff's office has said that deputies and staff in the Kenmore and Maple Valley precincts cover a total of 1,447 square miles in King County.
In March, the Sammamish City Council gave City Manager Ben Yazici authority to enter into a lease with King County. Officials have been talking about a consolidation for years and especially since late 2010.
The city of Sammamish receives its police protection through a contract with the King County Sheriff's Office.