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Letter to the Editor: Woodway Mayor Clarifies Contract With Edmonds Police

"The Town only contracts for one thing—very limited emergency response in those instances when a Woodway officer is not available."

The Town of Woodway is a small town that is not much bigger than some of the surrounding neighborhoods within the cities of Edmonds and Shoreline.

As a small community, we are proud of our independence and self-sufficiency.  Since incorporation in 1958, Woodway has had its own police force. However, in this age of tighter budgets and limited resources, like many cities in our state, our community has looked to partnerships to provide essential services more cost-effectively.

In 1997, the Town began contracting with the City of Edmonds for back-up police service. This service covers the relatively few emergency situations when an immediate response is required and a Woodway police officer is unavailable.

We truly value this partnership, but want to clarify for Edmonds residents the scope of the service. 

Because the Town has its own police force, the Town does not contract with the City of Edmonds for a full array of police services. Edmonds’ officers do not patrol Woodway streets. They do not conduct traffic enforcement or carry out investigative work. They do not do animal control, prisoner transport or drug enforcement.

They do not provide all of the other varied services that a full-service community police program provides. The Town only contracts for one thing—very limited emergency response in those instances when a Woodway officer is not available. 

With the most recent contract amendment, Woodway’s cost for this service will increase from an average of $11,000 a year to $36,000. This amount is based on the estimate provided by the Edmonds Police Chief on the amount Edmonds residents pay the City in taxes for the same service.

There has been discussion that the Town should have a different service model and contract with the City of Edmonds for the full array of police services. As with any community that values an independent identity, I can assure you that the Town is not interested in such a contract. Woodway is a small town with no commercial activity and limited governmental service.

The police services provided by the Town are an inseparable part of our social identity. While various comparisons of the total cost of governmental services provided by the Town to its residents with those provided by the City of Edmonds to Edmonds’ residents are interesting, they are no more useful than comparing the services provided by the City of Edmonds with those provided by City of Seattle. 

I want to assure Edmonds residents that Woodway fully values the partnership that we have developed with the City of Edmonds, and the Town will pay its share for the services provided by Edmonds. We believe that this new contract is fair to both communities. 

Mayor Carla A. Nichols
Town of Woodway

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