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Police department stable at three

Hall appointed interim chief in Coulee Dam

 


“Rocket scientists they are not.”

That was the way Coulee Dam’s interim police chief described villains who brag about their escapades on Facebook.

Interim Chief Larry Hall said that he often looks at Facebook to catch up with some law breakers who aren’t too smart and tell what they have done for everyone to see.

“When we have a a few vehicle prowls and a few garages are being broken into, I call the jail and ask if certain people are still in jail,” Hall said.

“As far as major crimes,” he said, “we’re really blessed.”

Consumeraffairs.com has gath-

ered crime data from across the country and lists Coulee Dam as 38th in the state, in terms of the size of its police force in relation to the population. But it’s listed as eighth best in the state in both crimes per capita and crimes per day (.07).

Hall gave an assessment of his three-man department to members of the Coulee Dam Town Council last Wednesday night after Mayor Greg Wilder said he’d apointed Hall interim chief.

Hall said he was able to cover the town with three officers, with one always on standby.

“We have excellent cooperation with Grand Coulee and the tribes,” he told the council. “When I need backup, Grand Coulee will send an officer down, and we do the same for them.”

He emphasized that cooperation between the departments was “absolutely excellent,” although it hasn’t always been that way. “Recently things have gotten better,” he stated.

Hall also praised tribal officers. “Even though they are short handed, we still get good cooperation with them,” Hall said.

The Coulee Dam department has been operating without a designated police chief for several months, and Mayor Wilder indicated that this would probably continue.

Until the department had contracted with the Bureau of Reclamation in recent years, Coulee Dam had normally operated with just three officers, Hall noted.

He explained that the last round of bids on supplying police services to the Grand Coulee Dam Project included more restrictive provisions. Prior agreements had allowed for officers to remain available and within five miles of the project, but no longer.

The changes, Wilder said, would have meant the town would likely have lost money on the deal as well as gaining some headaches, so he did not respond to the bureau’s request for bids.

Wilder said the police budget for the year is $367,000 for a three-man department, plus a reserve officer they are currently looking to bring on. He said that compares favorably to other small towns nearby, including smaller Twisp’s two-man department with reserves and a $292,000 budget, for example.

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