The City of Toledo has contracted the Winlock Police Department to provide temporary law enforcement in the Toledo area while the city works to hire a new police chief and officers.
“They won’t be physically here because they have to work in Winlock, but if there’s a 911 call they’ll be here,” Toledo Mayor Steve Dobosh told The Chronicle on Wednesday.
Toledo’s police department has been inoperable since Aug. 1, a result of former police chief Sam Patrick leaving his position and the Toledo City Council voting down a possible policing contract with the Napavine Police Department last month.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office was the primary law enforcement provider for the Toledo area until the city signed a contract with the City of Winlock this week.
The contract is for 80 hours of straight service time per week, according to Dobosh.
“We’re trying to please both towns here with minimal manpower,” Dobosh said. “So we’ll do the best we can.”
The contract will be in effect for at least three to four weeks, during which time the City of Toledo will work to recruit and hire a new permanent police chief.
The city intends to hire Duane Garvais Lawrence, who previously served as assistant chief of the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Public Safety Department, as a temporary police chief. The city is waiting for Garvais Lawrence to complete some final tests with the state Criminal Justice Training Commission before he can serve as temporary police chief, according to Dobosh.
The contract with Winlock will continue until the Toledo Police Department has a permanent chief and enough full-time officers to service the area.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Dobosh said of the contract’s uncertain end date. “There’s just not enough officers out there to be hired right now.”