Franklin Connection - Serving Franklin County, WA

By Brock Hires
Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle 

Culp's police department disbanded

Sheriff offers him a job

 

Last updated 11/6/2020 at 12:52pm

The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle

Gubernatorial candidate and Republic Polic Chief Loren Culp, R-Republic, expects to be working for the Ferry County Sheriff's Office after the city disbanded the Police Department in October.

REPUBLIC – Republican gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp said he lost his job as police chief and sole officer in the city after the council voted to disband the Police Department.

Culp made the announcement the day after he was presumably defeated by gubernatorial incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee in the Nov. 3 general election. Inslee leads statewide with 57.73 percent of the vote as of Friday.

In a Facebook Live video Wednesday, Culp said the City Council had a special meeting prior to the election and decided to "defund" his department and contract with the Ferry County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement needs.

"Incredible, right?" he said. "Small-minded people playing political games."

The city's website shows the council approved a law enforcement services agreement between the city and county during a special Oct. 30 meeting.

The decision was approved with a 3-1 vote. Meeting minutes do not show which council member was against it.

Culp said he had taken an absence of leave in August or September to finish out his campaign for governor. The council reduced his hours to 24 per week so he could maintain his health insurance and contracted with the Ferry County Sheriff's Office to provide additional coverage.

According to July 6 council minutes, the sheriff's office was covering city calls at that point.

"All but one council member voted to defund the police department," Culp said of the Oct. 30 vote to eliminate the department. "So, yeah, not even a letter of thank you, not a plaque for 10 years of service, not, 'Hey Loren, thanks but we don't need you anymore.'

"They just voted to defund the police department and away with that went my job."

According to Ferry County Sheriff Ray Maycumber, the city and county have signed two contracts – one for the current calendar year and a second one for 2021-22.

"Talks both formal and informal began early this year and have been ongoing and in public forum at the City Council chambers," Maycumber said. "Initially, the first discussions were to cover the city during the 2020 year while Chief Culp took vacation days to campaign. However, the situation changed again in June when I learned Chief Culp was taking a longer leave of absence."

Maycumber said the city, being financially distressed, requested the county consider providing law enforcement services for two additional years while they use the cost savings to replace equipment that might have otherwise required additional fee or tax burden on the city.

According to council minutes, the city treasurer said it cost the city $12,500 per month for the single, full-time officer – the chief - not counting other county contracts.

Based on a per-person formula, it is costing $137,580.60 yearly for the sheriff's office to cover the city. Cost for the city to run its department for a year was $156,000 with one officer and no plan to hire a second officer.

"The city has retained ownership of their police equipment and vehicles and can quickly stand the Republic Police Department back up if they feel that is cost effective and in the best interest of their citizens," Maycumber said.

Maycumber said state law "states clearly that he (Culp) can be brought over to the county as a peace officer and his seniority transfers as if he worked for the county since the day he began" with the city.

Maycumber added that as a county employee, Culp would have union and civil service protections available and a "cohesive team to be a member of."

He said he looks "forward to working with him (Culp) again if that is his choice."

Culp, who has been the city chief for four years and a police officer for 10 years, said the city has had its own police department for 120 years.

"It seems kind of backhanded," Culp said. "Feels like a knife in the back."

 

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