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Police Department
Budget Policies

D-84                 City of Mercer Island 2007-2008 Budget
                                                                              Budget Policies

Criminal Justice Funds
The Washington State Legislature authorized criminal justice funds to improve the criminal justice
system. In 1990, the City created the Criminal Justice Fund to account for this funding allocated to the
Public Safety Department. These funds must be used for criminal justice purposes only and cannot
supplant General Fund expenses.

In 1992, King County voters approved an additional 0.1% Sales Tax for criminal justice purposes.
Mercer Island receives approximately $500,000 per year from this tax. The fund also receives monies
from the Mercer Island School District to help support the School Resource Officer.

Significant cuts were made to the expenditures in this budget in the last few years in an effort to balance
annual expenditures and annual revenue receipts. The Financial Investigators position was cancelled due
to a lack of consistent funding from seizures, and the officer was transferred to patrol to fill an existing
vacancy. The money allocated to the Drug Counselor at the High School was also discontinued, and
this position is now funded through Youth and Family Services. Budget cuts were also made in almost
all areas of this fund, including police equipment, training, prisoner transport, computers and radios, and
special operations team.

Despite the dramatic cuts from this fund, the remaining services, equipment, and training supported by
this fund continue to operate effectively. The fund will continue to support the two “Hire Ahead”
officers who provide much needed help to patrol. It also funds the School Resource Officer, the Bike
Patrol Team, the Special Operations Team, the Department’s training program, computer replacements,
and Capital Equipment purchases.

As part of the split of the Public Safety Department (into separate Police and Fire Departments), the
City’s Emergency Management program has become a function of the Fire Department. As result,
funding for this program will no longer come from Criminal Justice dollars. The Emergency Management
program will now be funded via the General Fund, and the Police Department’s proposed Police
Support Officer (PSO) position will now be funded with Criminal Justice dollars.

Budget Policies for 2007 - 2008
•   Continually monitor the expenditures and revenues in this fund to help assure that the fund
    maintains a positive monetary balance.
•   Continue to support the Hire Ahead program which provides two officers for Patrol, and assists in
    mitigating some of the staffing shortages and overtime.
•   Continue to support the School Resource Officer program with additional funding from the Mercer
    Island School District.
•   Continue to support the regional radio system costs which cannot be charged to the levy, such as
    radio maintenance and replacement costs.
•   Continue to support funding for enhanced police training and equipment.
•   Begin funding support for the Police Department’s new Police Support Officer in lieu of funding the
    Fire Department’s Emergency Management program.

City of Mercer Island 2007-2008 Budget                                                                 D-85
Budget Policies
2007 – 2008 Budget Impact
                                            2005              2006               2007             2008
                                            Actual           Forecast           Budget           Budget
Opening Fund Balance                    $    243,886 $         200,279 $          190,831 $        217,816
Washington State Sales Tax                   462,283           480,000            500,000          520,000
State Shared Revenues                         23,872            24,100             25,000           25,200
Intergovernmental - School Dist (SRO)         16,700            16,700             16,700           16,700
Grants & General Donations                   383,338            46,310                   0                0
              Subtotal-Revenues         $    886,193 $         567,110 $         541,700 $        561,900
Total Resources                         $ 1,130,079      $     767,389      $    732,531     $    779,716
Administration / Equipment Rental       $          191 $         5,000 $            5,000 $          5,000
Emergency Management                         112,898           111,177                   -                -
Police Support Officer                               -                  -          63,178           64,877
Computer Replacements                         39,935            39,935             73,556           73,556
Regional Radio & Replacements                 36,635            30,545             30,148           30,990
Special Operations/Bike Patrol                11,748            14,500             15,100           15,100
Hire Ahead                                    94,498           137,321            148,898          162,991
School Resource Officer                       94,720            87,630            100,685          105,100
Police Training                               39,319            38,000             44,150           46,990
Domestic Violence                             10,000            10,000             10,000           10,000
Police Equipment                               2,549            42,450             24,000           24,000
Contract Dispatch Startup                    487,308            60,000                  0               0
          Subtotal - Expenditures       $    929,800 $         576,558            514,715 $       538,604
Ending Fund Balance                     $    200,279 $         190,831 $          217,816 $        241,112
Total Uses                              $ 1,130,079      $     767,389      $    732,531     $    779,716

D-86                                                        City of Mercer Island 2007-2008 Budget
                                                                              Budget Policies

Jail Services
Under state law, the City of Mercer Island is responsible for all costs associated with incarcerating
offenders for violation of City misdemeanors. The City has contracted with Yakima County, King
County, the City of Renton and the City of Issaquah to provide jail services.

Under the terms of the City's current Jail Contract with King County, the City pays a booking fee when
it books an offender into jail and a daily maintenance fee for each day the offender is incarcerated. The
2006 King County booking fee is $187 and the daily maintenance fee is $98. The average length of stay
in the jail for our misdemeanant prisoners is three (3) days. The King County Correctional Facility
(KCCF) is used primarily as a back up facility to the Renton, Issaquah and Yakima Jails. In addition,
prisoners who have certain medical conditions, such as mental health concerns or who pose an unusual
danger to themselves or others are booked into the KCCF.

Under the terms of the City’s current jail contract with the City of Renton, the City does not pay a
booking fee. The City pays only a daily maintenance fee of $70 per day. The City does not pay a
booking fee to the City of Issaquah and pays a daily maintenance fee of $65 per day.

Prisoners who are serving sentences of more than a few days, or are awaiting a court hearing, are
typically sent to the Yakima jail, via the Renton jail. Yakima provides free transportation of the inmates
to its facility. Under the terms of the Yakima jail agreement, the City does not pay a booking fee and
pays a daily maintenance fee ranging form $61.99 to $68.07 (depending on associated medical costs per
prisoner). This arrangement serves to keep our daily maintenance fees at a minimum, since we are pre-
committed to pay for four beds per day in the Yakima jail. This contract with Yakima is currently in a
state of flux due to growing concerns of non-compliance on Yakima’s part. If this contract dissolves, the
City could realize an approximate reduction in jail costs of 30%. Staff is continuing to look very closely
at this issue. If the contract is dissolved, staff will secure agreements with other local jails for inmate

Budget Policies for 2007-2008
•   Continue to work with the (King County cities) Jail Advisory Group to determine options under the
    existing contract with Yakima including termination and/or renegotiation of the contract.
•   Continue to send all post-sentence prisoners and as many pre-sentence prisoners as operationally
    feasible to Yakima County to avoid using the higher-cost King County jail and to maximize the cost
    savings to the City. The City’s efforts to maximize use of the Yakima jail will be enhanced by Police
    Department’s attendance and participation in the Jail Operation Group.
•   Continue to utilize alternatives to incarceration. Mercer Island currently contracts with the Renton
    Electronic Home Detention Program. The City will continue working with the courts to insure that
    this alternative is being used for any eligible offenders.
•   Continue to critically evaluate the City’s operations such as booking practices. Coordinate with the
    Municipal Court to insure use of appropriate alternatives to incarceration. The City’s jail costs have
    been decreasing as a result of the City’s use of jail facilities other than KCCF and using alternatives
    to incarceration such as electronic home detention.

City of Mercer Island 2007-2008 Budget                                                                  D-87
Budget Policies
2007 – 2008 Budget Impact
                                  2005       2006           2007             2008
        Revenues ($1,000’s)      Actual    Forecast        Budget           Budget
            General Fund         $95,799   $98,000         $98,000          $98,000

                                  2005       2006           2007             2008
       Expenditures ($1,000’s)   Actual    Forecast        Budget           Budget
              Jail Costs         $95,799   $98,000         $98,000          $98,000

D-88                                               City of Mercer Island 2007-2008 Budget
                                                                              Budget Policies

Police and Fire Dispatching
Since the early 1960’s, Mercer Island provided dispatching services for its Police officers and Firefighters
within the Department of Public Safety. By 2003, we had outgrown our dispatch center, and were faced
with serious concerns relating to staffing (lone dispatcher 82% of the time), an antiquated technology
system, and our inability to handle multiple / simultaneous calls for service. We began an exhaustive
study into our options for the future of dispatching on Mercer Island. Four options were studied in
depth, with a fifth option likely for the future. The four options were; 1) status quo, 2) upgrade Mercer
Island’s existing dispatch center with all the needed technology and staffing, 3) contract with Valley
Communication Center, or 4) contract with Kirkland for Police dispatching and with Bellevue for Fire
dispatching. It was determined that the fourth option was the best fit for Mercer Island, with the
understanding that the fifth option (a Regional Dispatch Center) was a likely option for the future.

In 2004, the city of Kirkland began providing dispatching services for the Police Department, and
Bellevue began providing dispatching services for the Fire Department (Mercer Island still retains its own
records section and public window services). The decision to go with this new dispatching model
provided access to much needed staffing as well technology, such as computer aided dispatch and
computers in emergency response vehicles. While Mercer Island has certainly benefited from this new
dispatching model, the cities of Bellevue and Kirkland have been clear from the beginning that they have
very strong interest in consolidating into a regional dispatch center. They have also stated that they will
no longer individually provide dispatching services for Mercer Island if a regional dispatch center is

In 2005, fourteen cities and Fire Districts began discussing the consolidation of dispatching services on
the Eastside. Several committees were created to study the feasibility of creating a regional dispatch
center, which would provide dispatch services for both Police and Fire. The initial study was developed
with the assistance of two consulting firms, Karen Reed and Associates, and ADCOMM Engineering.
Each of these firms has expertise in the area of developing communication centers in our region, and
both had assisted Mercer Island in our transition to Kirkland and Bellevue in 2004.

Following completion of the initial study, a report was generated that found that a regional dispatch
center was not only possible, but it would also make good business sense for the stakeholders in the
long run. The project has been named the North East King County Regional Communication Center
(NORCOM). The initial goals of NORCOM are to increase levels of service, increase efficiencies, allow
for greater decision making / operational control by member agencies, and to improve interagency
collaboration / partnerships.

NORCOM is designed to be a separate legal entity formed as a non-profit corporation whose members
are public entities / agencies. It would be governed by a board on which all “principals / owners” are
represented. The proposed location is in Bellevue’s City Hall. This location meets all the critical
“siting” criteria and it is ready to occupy in the near future. It is also designed to accommodate the
needs of the stakeholders for at least 10 years.

The target start-up date for NORCOM is January 1st, 2009, and while much work has already gone into
this project, there is still much work to be completed. Over the next biennium, Mercer Island will
continue to participate in the study of NORCOM’s viability for Mercer Island. We will also continue to
research other dispatching options, to ensure that the best dispatching option is selected for this
community. As we move forward with the study of NORCOM, we will incur some transitional Capital

City of Mercer Island 2007-2008 Budget                                                                 D-89
Budget Policies
costs in both 2007 and 2008. Costs are shared by the stakeholders based on call volume, with Mercer
Island’s share being 8.5% of the total costs.

There is an anticipated cost in 2007 for Mercer Island of $18,000 (reduced from $27,000 due to a
recent grant award for this project). These costs will be funded via the City’s Technology Fund, and will
cover Mercer Island’s share of transitional expenses relating to initial staffing, labor negotiations, and
contingency funding for this project. In 2008, the anticipated Capital costs for Mercer Island’s share may
be up to $232,000, and would be funded via 2005 cash carry-over dollars. The majority of this cost
would be to towards resolution of technology issues (Computer Aided Dispatching, Mobile Data
Computing, and Records Management systems). A committee will work with a consultant to define the
actual technology needs of NORCOM, and to prepare an RFP for CAD/RMS vendors. These costs also
include Mercer Island’s share of the salary for NORCOM’s Director, capital reserve funding, and some
facility modifications. We continue to be optimistic regarding future grant dollars for this project. Once
staff has gathered the necessary data relating to our future dispatching options, staff will present the
different models to Council for the final decision.

Budget Policies for 2007-2008
•   Continue to work with the Cities of Bellevue and Kirkland, ensuring high quality and affordable
    dispatch services in 2007 and 2008.
•   Monitor dispatch services to assure that our citizens and public safety employees are receiving a
    high level of service.
•   Work with Records personnel to ensure they provide the appropriate level of service to our
•   Continue to ensure that our Mobile Computer system in our emergency vehicles is well maintained.
•   Continue to work on coordinating police and fire responses to all large emergencies under the
    model of two separate dispatch centers.
•   Continue our participation in NORCOM study committees, with a particular focus on the start-up
    and on-going costs associated with this model.
•   Continue to study options for future dispatching on Mercer Island (to include NORCOM), paying
    close attention to service delivery, economic feasibility, long-term stability, and governance models.
•   Present the necessary data to Council relating to future dispatching models prior to funding

This two-year budget reflects the fees for contracting dispatch services with Kirkland and Bellevue. It
also includes costs associated with retaining our own records function, and keeping our own property /
evidence function. The capital transitional costs for NORCOM are also shown.

D-90                                                                City of Mercer Island 2007-2008 Budget
                                                                Budget Policies
2007 - 2008 Police & Fire Budget Impact
                                             2005          2006      2007      2008
                                            Actual       Forecast   Budget    Budget
  Revenues ($1,000)
  General Fund                                  557           515       568       590
  2005 Cash carry-over                               0          0         0       232
  Technology Fund                                    0          0        18         0
  Total Revenues                              $557          $515      $586      $822
  Expenditures ($1,000)
  CMI Public Safety Dispatching (PD & FD)       360          N/A       N/A       N/A
  Police Dispatch (Kirkland)                   N/A            215       231       244
  Fire Dispatch (Bellevue)                     N/A            105       109       114
  Records in house                              197           195       228       232
  NORCOM capital transitional costs                  0          0        18       232
  Total Expenditures                          $557          $515      $586      $822

City of Mercer Island 2007-2008 Budget                                             D-91
Budget Policies

D-92                 City of Mercer Island 2007-2008 Budget
                                                                               Budget Policies

Police Support Officer
Despite incremental increases in the demands placed on the City’s police officers, staffing has remained
static for the past 10 years. In 1996, staffing was actually reduced by one sworn officer when one of the
three Lieutenants retired and his position was not filled.

As demands on the City’s police officers continue to increase, officers find themselves unable to
accommodate some of the less urgent tasks such as parking enforcement, speed-trailer deployment, and
leash law enforcement. As a result, parking enforcement is done on a complaint basis, with little
proactive parking enforcement taking place. The speed-trailer is currently deployed by the Marine
Patrol Technician, but only as time permits. Leash law concerns are currently addressed by a recently
funded part time civilian position.

Increased development in the CBD along with the possible PEAK project will result in additional parking
pressures. As the City contemplates changes to its existing parking restrictions (e.g. instituting a
Residential Parking Zone around the high school), and implements changes to the Animal Control
Ordinance, concerns have increased relating to our ability to effectively manage these duties.

Transporting prisoners has also become a growing concern over the past several years, as our current
staffing levels are often insufficient to allow an on-duty officer to perform this function. Transporting
prisoners typically involves picking up the prisoner from one of the area jails, taking them to court,
providing continual monitoring/oversight of the prisoner during court, and then returning the prisoner
to the jail. This process can take several hours and is done at times by an officer who is brought in on
overtime. If a patrol officer is unavailable to perform this task, a detective is pulled from investigative
duties and assigned to the transport detail.

Similar-sized departments in other communities accommodate this level of need by utilizing a civilian
position typically called a Police Support Officer (PSO). PSO’s usually receive training from the Criminal
Justice Training Commission’s Corrections Academy. PSO’s are valuable assets, filling duties such as
parking enforcement and prisoner transports. This person can also be used in the City’s park system to
address the Leash Law campaign and to oversee the deployment of the speed-watch radar trailer.
By creating this new civilian staff position, the City would realize an improved level of service in the
areas of parking enforcement, speeding vehicle concerns (via increased speed-trailer deployment),
continuity of leash law enforcement personnel, and consistent transportation of prisoners to their court
dates. The PSO position would also allow commissioned Police Officers to focus attention on more
urgent duties.

Expenditures for this position including salary, benefits and associated supplies are anticipated to be
$63,000 in 2007. In June of 2006, Council approved a $10,000 appropriation to fund a part time
position to implement the new leash law campaign for the remaining six months of the year. At current
service levels, this position would cost $20,000 on annualized basis. Staff recommends that leash law
duties be performed as part of the PSO’s responsibilities and therefore not make a separate $20,000
funding request.

Rather than request funding for the PSO from the General Fund, staff recommends that this position be
funded via Criminal Justice funds. The cost of the PSO would be partially off-set by the savings realized
by not funding a part-time staff person to address leash law issues. Staff also projects a $5,000 savings
from the police overtime budget that is currently being paid to commissioned officers to transport

City of Mercer Island 2007-2008 Budget                                                                  D-93
Budget Policies
prisoners. Additional funding could include revenues realized from increased parking citations as well as
fees from the new RPZ. Furthermore, the City of Newcastle has expressed an interest in contracting
with Mercer Island for prisoner transport services, which could also go towards funding this position.

Budget Policies for 2007-2008
•   Create and fund a Police Service Officer position to address increased demands for leash law
    enforcement/public information, parking enforcement and prisoner transport.
•   Fund the position from the Criminal Justice Fund.
•   Explore revenue generating potential by providing the City of Newcastle with contracted prisoner
    transport services.

2007 – 2008 Budget Impact
                                          2005              2006              2007              2008
        Revenues ($1,000’s)              Actual           Forecast           Budget            Budget
                                                             $ 15
                                             $ 5
General Fund                                            (Police OT &           $ 0              $ 0
                                        (Police OT)
                                                         Leash Law.)
Criminal Justice Fund                       0                 0                 53               55
Contract Services (Newcastle Prisoner
                                            0                 0                 5                 5
RPZ Program                                 0                 0                 5                 5

Total Revenues                             $ 5              $ 15               $ 63             $ 65

                                          2005              2006              2007             2008
       Expenditures ($1,000’s)           Actual            Actual            Budget           Budget
Police Support Officer                     $ 0              $ 0                $ 63             $ 65

D-94                                                                 City of Mercer Island 2007-2008 Budget

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