I take exception to Councilman Ayres recent retort in the Forum referencing his comments regarding the Forks Police Department and other city administration functions. My hearing may be less than perfect, (I wear hearing aids) and he speaks extremely softly, even when asked to increase the volume. He describes his comments as “options” however when questioned regarding the cost of converting the Forks PD; he became immensely defensive and would not offer any back-up dollar figures. Likewise, there was no information about closing the jail, or transportation costs moving arrests to Port Angeles for confinement, for court appearances, medical needs, etc.
When at the last council meeting he detected concern by the citizens of Forks, (they were not too docile) and there was a full house of people, he did an about-face and sensed a problem. The strong response by other council members against his first proposal I am sure also dampened his enthusiasm.
For the record, why close the jail? It has been a money maker for the city, provides jobs, and for all aspects is better managed than the Clallam County jail. To the best of my knowledge, there has been only one escape from the Forks jail years ago and the problem was corrected. No suicides or published serious assaults of staff or inmates, which is not the case in Clallam County jail. Our former police chief worked hard at keeping the beds full through his efforts with other jails, county, city, state and feds.
The final decision and agreement of the mayor and the council, during the most recent meeting, was to a open hiring process for a new police chief and all other aspects of local law enforcement will remain as they are.
The need is obvious; we all must remain concerned and watch very closely what the final outcome of the decision and implementation proves to be.
And as members of the city council, maintain an open door policy so that concerned citizens can feel free to voice their opinions and make sure that those opinions are part of city council decisions.
For all council members, if you are not happy in your work, find a different job.
Sincerely, Phil Reed