The Pierce County Council has approved spending $2 million to open a Sheriff’s Department precinct in the Parkland-Spanaway area aimed at reducing crime.
The council voted Tuesday night to pay for land, two buildings and renovations where about 35 deputies will be based.
The facility near Pacific Avenue South and 141st Street Court South is at the epicenter of the highest crime area in unincorporated Pierce County, said Sheriff’s Department Chief Rob Masko.
“We will have a much faster response to our citizens who are living and working in the Parkland-Spanaway area,” Masko said. “We want to be more effective in fighting crime in that particular area.”
Burglaries, auto thefts and assaults are the most common crimes in the area, he said. The precinct is projected to open by the end of 2013, serving a population of about 80,000.
It will draw some deputies from the department’s only other precinct located on South Hill. A small detachment at Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway also will move to the new precinct, Masko said.
While most council members were enthusiastic, Roger Bush, R-Frederickson, objected that the full council wasn’t briefed on the purchase. Although he supports the area having a precinct, Bush said the project was hurried and other locations should be considered.
Bush said he first learned about the purchase at a council study session earlier Tuesday.
“I think it’s too quick,” Bush said. “It’s rushed. It’s not transparent.”
Council chairwoman Joyce McDonald, R-Puyallup, said Bush’s concerns were valid but Bush cast the lone no vote in a 4-1 decision. Dan Roach, R-Bonney Lake, and Stan Flemming, R-University Place, were absent.
Council members Rick Talbert, D-Tacoma, and Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, both said the $2 million price tag is a great deal for the county and will enhance public safety.
“We’re getting a very nice piece of property – even with renovation – for a very low price,” Muri said.
The project will be financed with a $2 million loan from public works’ equipment rental and revolving fund. Next year, the county will sell $2 million in bonds to pay back the loan.