City of Ridgefield, WA, June 30, 2023 – At the June 29 Ridgefield City Council meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to end any further investigation into providing policing services to the City of La Center.
Last year, La Center approached Ridgefield about contracting for police services after negotiations with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) fell through and a contract with the Cowlitz Tribe was determined to be infeasible. Ridgefield’s City Council expressed concerns about a potential contract to provide police services outside City limits. However, La Center and Ridgefield have a positive working relationship, are neighbors who impact each other, and the two police departments have a long history of mutual aid, so the Ridgefield City Council asked staff to work with a consultant to determine the feasibility of shared services while maintaining service to our residents.
Since that time, the feasibility study was completed and presented, and two significant developments have occurred which caused the Ridgefield City Council to end further analysis of a police contract for La Center.
First, the Ridgefield City Council asked staff to conduct a community survey presenting findings of the study and asking for input on whether residents are supportive of the potential contract. Sixty percent of the 337 respondents who live or work in Ridgefield said they are either somewhat or very unsupportive of the contract for service with La Center. The top concern – similarly shared by City Councilors multiple times through the process – was any potential for diminished police presence in Ridgefield.
Second, La Center restarted negotiations with both CCSO and the Cowlitz Tribal Police to assure they have choices for providing their residents necessary police service. A proposal for service was presented to the La Center City Council by CCSO on June 27, and a work session with the Cowlitz Tribal Police regarding a potential contract for service is also being scheduled in La Center.
“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,” stated Ridgefield Mayor Jennifer Lindsay. “The Council looks forward to continuing our positive relationship with our neighbors in La Center and the partnership with their Council, staff, and contracted service providers to benefit all North County residents. We depend on each other and will always be there to support our neighbor to the north.”