In Happy Valley, police services are provided through a contract with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department.
We have unique law enforcement needs, but we also have a tight budget. For that monetary reason and many others, we partner with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office for police services. The Sheriff has provided contract police services here since 1973, making Happy Valley the first law enforcement contract city in Clackamas County.
Through this partnership and annual contract, the City is able to maintain local control and identity for our police, and save money through the economies of scale. The City benefits financially by taking advantage of the service functions which a larger law enforcement agency can provide. This annual contract provides the dedicated police services that you see today.
When the City of Happy Valley was formed in 1965, it was a small City and received police patrols through the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office as part of a larger patrol district. At that time, the population was less than a thousand residents. Crime was fairly low, and the use of the Sheriff’s office on an informal basis served the needs of the City. The founding fathers wanted a low tax base, and settled on 67 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value. At that time, the City provided few services, with most being provided by the County.
The passing of Measures 5 (1990) and 50 (1997) were aimed to prevent rapid tax hikes, and resulted in capping the amount of property taxes that go to schools and other government services (general property tax). Due to these measures, Happy Valley general property tax is capped at 67 cents, which is not enough to cover general costs of City Services. This is why the City of Happy Valley is required to pass Serial Option Levies in order to maintain a dedicated police department.
Quick Q & A:
Who provides police services for the City? Dedicated Police services are offered through an annual contract with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
If we lose the dedicated Happy Valley police, won’t the Clackamas County Sheriff step in? No. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office will only respond to life-threatening emergency calls and response will be based on availability.
How many officers are on duty per shift? Currently, there are anywhere between one and two officers per shift (24/7/365).
Where exactly does Happy Valley Police patrol? The Happy Valley police are dedicated to patrolling Happy Valley proper and do not patrol west of I-205. This means that the Clackamas Town Center and 82nd Avenue are not covered by Happy Valley police, even though they share the City zip code.
I see a lot of Clackamas County Sheriff vehicles in my neighborhood, why not Happy Valley cars? There are two answers to this question.
- Due to the location of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office (Sunnybrook and 92nd area), it is likely that you see Sheriff patrol cars driving through Happy Valley to report to unincorporated county districts.
- Because we do contract with Clackamas County Sheriff for police services you will see a Sheriff Deputy and patrol car filling in on shifts in the City when a dedicated Happy Valley Officer is out sick or absent. This could be anywhere from a partial shift, full day or even up to a couple of weeks. In this case, the relief deputy filling the shift is still being paid by the City through the contract.
What is the average response time by Happy Valley police? Happy Valley Police respond to a priority call with an average response time of 4-6 minutes. Without a dedicated police department, this time would double, or even triple, and be responded to based on availability with priority to life-saving calls only.
What is defined as a priority call? A priority call is a call that involves domestic violence and/or something that is in progress at the moment.
Will the money raised from the police levy be spent in other areas of the City budget? No, the money is allocated directly for police services and will be spent for public safety.
Is property tax the same for all residents, including newly developed neighborhoods, bank-owned homes, and businesses? Yes, all Happy Valley residents pay the same 67 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value. The same applies to the police levy.
What can I do to ensure that Happy Valley does not lose our Police Department? The best thing that you can do is continue to educate yourself and others by learning the facts and stay connected to the City through Facebook and the monthly newsletter.