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Friday, March 1, 2024
March 1, 2024

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Ridgefield council halts talks with La Center on police services

By , Columbian staff writer

Ridgefield’s plans to provide police services to the city of La Center came to a halt Thursday after the Ridgefield City Council voted unanimously to end any further investigation into the matter.

According to a press release Friday, Ridgefield conducted a survey of residents and found 60 percent were either somewhat or very unsupportive of a contract.

La Center approached Ridgefield about the possibility of providing police services last year. At the time, La Center’s negotiations with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Cowlitz Tribal Council ended without reaching an agreement. Negotiations with the sheriff’s office fell through, and a contract with the tribe was determined to be infeasible.

Ridgefield’s city council voiced concerns about a potential contract to provide police services outside city limits. However, because La Center and Ridgefield have a positive working relationship and the two police departments have a long history of mutual aid, the council directed staff to study the feasibility of providing shared services while maintaining service to its residents.

The primary concern for the council and residents answering the survey was the potential for diminished police services in Ridgefield.

La Center has since restarted its negotiations with both the sheriff’s office and tribal police. The sheriff’s office presented a proposal for police services to La Center on Tuesday. A work session with the Cowlitz Tribal Police is also being scheduled.

“Given Ridgefield residents’ and council concerns, and the fact that La Center now has multiple viable alternatives for police services, our city council has decided to end involvement in the process,” Ridgefield Mayor Jennifer Lindsay said in the release.

Lindsay said the council looks forward to continuing its relationship with La Center.

“We depend on each other and will always be there to support our neighbor to the north,” Lindsay said.