The following summary is an effort to assist Weber County residents to better understand the nature of the current re-evaluation of law enforcement contracts between contract cities and the Weber County Sheriff's Office:
Shortly after taking office as your sheriff in January 2011, I felt it was important to try to standardize the financial and personnel resources provided by the sheriff's office to the citizens of Weber County by using some form of measurable criteria, in conjunction with the statutory requirements determined by Weber County executives and legal counsel.
Upon examination of existing city contracts, we determined that the level of services being provided to many of the contract cities, to varying degrees, exceeded the amount being paid for by the contract cities.
In other words, all taxpaying residents of Weber County -- even those who lived in cities with their own police departments -- were paying for a portion of law enforcement services through the county's General Fund that were primarily benefitting the taxpaying residents in contract cities
The purpose, scope, and critical importance of re-evaluating each city contract was communicated to city officials in the contract cities, and the assistance of representatives from each of the contract cities was requested to determine the best approach to remedy this situation.
This group met for several months, researching and determining suitable criteria to use to determine the cost of each city's contract amount. Although the end result has been a necessary increase in service costs for most city contracts for the 2013-2014 year, all Weber County taxpayers will receive individual tax relief in the county General Fund property taxes.
Regardless of the decision of whether or not a city wants to contract with the sheriff's office for law enforcement services, or to have its own police department, or to contract with another agency, law enforcement officials in Weber County have a very positive working relationship that will continue to serve all county residents in the most effective, efficient, and mutually beneficial manner for all residents with honor and integrity.
Your city and county law enforcement officials, supervisors, and peace officers are to be commended for their commitment to you and for their unselfish service in providing for the safety and security of all citizens in Weber County.
I am proud to be counted among them.
Additional information and research in reference to this re-evaluation of city contracts can be found at the Weber County Sheriff's Office website.
Thompson is the Weber County sheriff.