SISTERS, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's office has provided law enforcement in Sisters under a $588,000 contract since the city force disbanded 20 years ago. But that could change.
"We recently received notice that the city of Sisters - the Mayor - was unhappy with, or in some manner dissatisfied with, the police service that we were providing," Sheriff's Sgt. William Bailey tells KBND News, "And, I've heard how some of that has to do with traffic enforcement and the number of citations that we write in the city of Sisters." While a new city police force is a possibility, it's very early in the conversation. Bailey says Sheriff Shane Nelson first spoke with Mayor Chuck Ryan about his concerns on Thursday.
According to Sgt. Bailey, DCSO conducts 1,000-2,000 traffic stops per month, and only 15-17% result in tickets, "One of the philosophies of the Sheriff's office is that we're a customer service oriented operation. Our office provides customer service to every citizen in Deschutes County and so every traffic stop that we make isn't going to result in a traffic citation." He acknowledges "customer service" doesn't always look impressive on paper, "I guess you just have to look at the broad spectrum of all the service we provide and look at it in its totality to determine if our police service is successful, and not just look at one number or one statistic." In Sisters, DCSO provides a full-time patrol deputy, 24/7, and an office and staff available weekdays, along with a new bike patrol, detectives, DUII services, school safety training, and SWAT.
The current contract between Sisters and DCSO is set to expire in 2020. "No matter what happens in the future with our contract with Sisters," says Sgt. Bailey, "If it continues for another 20 years or ends in the next one or two years, we'll continue to provide the best service we can to the citizens of Deschutes County and the City of Sisters."