Interlocal Cooperation in Law Enforcement
This page provides a basic overview of interlocal cooperation in law enforcement in Washington State, including examples of interlocal agreements between cities, counties, Indian tribes, or other government agencies.
It is part of MRSC's series on Interlocal Cooperation.
A city or town may provide law enforcement protection in a number of different ways. The traditional and most common way is to establish a municipal police department under the direction of a locally appointed police chief or marshal.
Meanwhile, counties provide law enforcement through the sheriff's office.
Many small communities and even several larger ones enter into a contractual arrangement with another jurisdiction to provide law enforcement services. Cities and towns typically contract with the county for police services or they may also contract with a neighboring city or town for service. The level of service and cost must be negotiated between the jurisdictions. In contracting for police protection a city or town may opt to appoint a city employee or officer to serve as chief law enforcement officer or as is most typically done designate an officer from the jurisdiction being contracted with to serve in that capacity.
Many municipalities also enter into mutual aid agreements with other cities, the county, or the state patrol to provide back-up assistance in emergency situations.
- Ch. 10.93 RCW – Washington Mutual Aid Peace Officers Act
- RCW 10.93.130 – Interlocal contracts for law enforcement and mutual assistance
- Ch. 39.34 RCW – Interlocal Cooperation Act
Below are selected examples of interlocal agreements where one jurisdiction provides general law enforcement services for another. For examples of other agreements such as inmate housing, mutual aid agreements, tribal law enforcement, or other specific topics, see the sections below.
Counties Providing Law Enforcement Services
- Clallam County/Forks Law Enforcement Supplemental Staffing Agreement (2016) – County provides one or more deputies to supplement city police department staff as needed.
- King County Police Partnerships – Webpages provide an overview of law enforcement contractual services, including potential benefits and FAQs for prospective partners
- King County/Kirkland Seasonal Marine Patrol Services Agreement (2011) – County provides marine patrols during boating season (May 15-Sept. 15), with an emphasis on afternoon and early evening hours
- Pierce County/Roy Specialized Law Enforcement Services Agreement (2010) – County provides specialized law enforcement services to city regarding criminal investigations, canine services, bomb squads, meth labs, SWAT teams, and marine services/dive team; includes adopting resolution
- Skagit County/Concrete Law Enforcement Services Interlocal Agreement (2017) – County provides law enforcement to town
- Snohomish County/Stanwood Interlocal Agreement for Law Enforcement Services (2017) – County provides law enforcement to city; includes building credit for police facility owned by city and occupied by sheriff's office.
- Spokane County/Spokane Valley Law Enforcement Services Agreement (2017) – County provides law enforcement to city; exhibits include summary of services, staffing, workload indicators, and performance measures.
- Walla Walla County/Prescott Law Enforcement Services Agreement (2012) – County provides law enforcement to city
Cities Providing Law Enforcement Services
- Bainbridge Island/Kitsap Transit Extra Duty Police Services Interlocal Agreement (2017) – City provides law enforcement for transit agency. Assigned officers are on extra duty assignment during their off-duty hours and have primary obligations to the city.
- Duvall/Carnation Law Enforcement Services Interlocal Agreement (2011) – Duvall provides law enforcement to Carnation, including police patrols and prosecution of misdemeanors
- North Bend/Snoqualmie Law Enforcement Services Interlocal Agreement (2019) – Snoqualmie provides police services to North Bend
- Poulsbo/Bremerton Marine Patrol Services Agreement (2013) – Poulsbo provides marine police patrols within Bremerton waters
- Spokane/Spokane Transit Authority Police Services Agreement (2017) – One police officer patrols transit authority plaza and surrounding area, with an emphasis on weekday afternoons
- White Salmon/Bingen Law Enforcement Interlocal Agreement (2010) – White Salmon provides police service to Bingen via the consolidated Bingen-White Salmon Police Department, divided into two districts
- Burien Provision of Police Service Assessment (2011) – Evaluates current contract with sheriff’s office compared to cost of establishing a police department; concludes that current contract is more cost-effective but that as the city grows an independent police department would become more cost-competitive
- Chelan County/Kittitas County Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Agreement (2015) – Agreement for Chelan County to respond to calls from the Colockum Pass Area within Kittitas County, which would otherwise have a long response time due to geographical barriers
- Clark/Skamania Counties Regional Major Crimes Team Agreement (2014) – Agreement between counties, cities, and WSU-Vancouver to provide for cooperative and coordinated investigations of major crimes, law enforcement-involved fatalities/injuries, or other serious incidents upon request of the primary jurisdiction
- King County Mutual Aid Law Enforcement Agreement (2013) – Agreement between the Washington State Patrol, the King County Sheriff, and the cities of Bellevue, Black Diamond, Bothell, Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond and Snoqualmie to provide law enforcement and mobilization in the Event of a law enforcement-involved fatal or serious injury incident.
- Pend Oreille County/Newport Mutual Aid Law Enforcement Agreement (2018) – Agreement between Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office and the City of Newport Police Department
- Pullman/Lewiston, ID Interstate Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Agreement (2016)
- Sequim/Port Angeles Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Agreement (2016)
- Skagit County Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Agreement (2007) – Agreement between county and its four largest cities
- Southwest Regional SWAT/Negotiating Team/Tactical Emergency Medical Services Mutual Law Enforcement Assistance Agreement (2017) – Agreement between Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal and Washington State University
- Thurston County Mutual Aid Law Enforcement Agreement (2009) – Includes county, cities, and Evergreen State College
Below are selected examples of interlocal agreements for emergency communications and dispatch services. For more information on emergency communications, see our page Emergency Communication Services and Facilities.
- King County/Valley Communications Center Emergency Communication Mutual Backup Agreement (2013) – Providing mutual backup emergency communications/dispatch services in the event either agency is unable to provide services fur to an emergency or scheduled maintenance outage.
- Redmond/Duvall Dispatch Services Interlocal Agreement (2015) – Redmond provides law enforcement dispatch services to Duvall; includes general operational procedures
- WHITCOM/Moscow, ID Dispatch Services Agreement (2016) – Renewed interlocal/interstate agreement for WHITCOM to provide 911 and non-emergency dispatch services to Idaho city; also includes original 2004 contract
- Yakima County/Wapato Law Enforcement Communications Agreement (2017) – Sheriff provides dispatch services to city during hours in which city has no radio personnel on duty
A number of cities and counties also have agreements with nearby Indian tribes for a variety of law enforcement services. Selected examples are below. For examples of tribal jail agreements, see our page Jail Services and Alternatives to Incarceration.
- Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) Tribal Officer General Authority Model Policy (2010) – Guidance on how to authorize tribal officers to act as general authority peace officers; includes sample interlocal agreement
- Clallam County/Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe Law Enforcement Agreement (2010) – Agreement for sheriff's department to enforce tribal law in Jamestown Indian Country
- Clark County/Cowlitz Tribe Law Enforcement and Prosecution Agreement (2017) – County provides law enforcement and prosecution for alleged crimes committed by non-Indians on tribal land; law enforcement powers also extend to all cities that are party to Clark County law enforcement mutual aid agreement.
- Kitsap County/Suquamish Tribe Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Agreement (2017) – Authorizes qualified tribal police officers to act as general peace officers within Kitsap County beyond the boundaries of the Port Madison Reservation under RCW 10.93.070
- Pend Oreille County/Kalispel Tribe Emergency Dispatch Communication Agreement (2017) – Interlocal agreement for county to provide 24-hour law enforcement, fire, and EMS dispatch services to the tribe
- Snohomish County/Stillaguamish Tribe Cooperative Law Enforcement Agreement (2015) – "Cross-deputization" agreement authorizing qualified tribal officers to act as general peace officers within Kitsap County under RCW 10.93.070 and allowing certain sheriff deputies to be granted tribal commissions
- Snohomish County/Tulalip Tribes Deputy Prosecutor MOU (2013) – Memorandum of understanding for tribe to fund one full-time deputy prosecutor whose primary duties would include timely review and prosecution of alleged crimes committed by non-Indians on tribal land
- Anacortes/Anacortes School District School Resource Officer Agreement (2015)
- Pend Oreille County/Newport School District School Resource Officer Agreement (2016) – Includes job description
- Poulsbo/North Kitsap School District:
- Snohomish County/Edmonds School District School Resource Officer Agreement (2015) – Includes job description and standard operating procedures
- Kitsap County Traffic Safety Task Force and Mutual Aid Agreement (2013) – Interlocal agreement and mutual aid agreement to participate in a countywide task force to target traffic infractions, particularly DUI and speeding.
- Mason, Kitsap, and Pierce Counties Regional Drug Task Force Agreement (2015) – Updated agreement for the Westsound area, including the three counties, several cities, the state patrol, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
- Snohomish County Regional Drug & Gang Task Force Agreement (2016) – Interlocal agreement with many jurisdictions to establish a regional drug and gang task force
For examples of interlocal agreements related to jails and inmates, see our page Jail Services and Alternatives to Incarceration.
For examples of interlocal agreements related to court services, including prosecution, public defense, and indigent defense, see our page City and County Court Services.
For detailed guidance on law enforcement records laws, see our Law Enforcement Records Tool Kit.
- Cheney/Eastern Washington University Law Enforcement Data Entry Agreement (2016) – University police department uses city's data entry/data housing services
- Kennewick Police Information Network Interlocal Agreement (2011) – Agreement between Benton County, Franklin County, and cities to establish the Bi-County Police Information Network (BI-PIN) to jointly utilize an expanded records management system operated by Kennewick
- Spokane County/Airway Heights Computer Aided Dispatch and Records Management Agreement (2015)
- Benton/Franklin Counties Law Enforcement Pursuit MOU (2015) – Establishing operational guidelines for multi-jurisdictional pursuits within the two counties and their cities
- Clark County Vehicular Pursuit Interlocal Agreement (2017) – Setting uniform guidelines for vehicle pursuits that may cross jurisdictions.
- Everett/Pierce County Law Enforcement Agreement for U.S. Open (2015) – City provides additional law enforcement for major regional event (golf tournament)
- Mount Vernon/Skagit County Law Enforcement MOU (2007) – Clarifies that city police will respond to all calls for service on county property within city limits; identifies specific security responsibilities of the sheriff’s office
- Snohomish County/Everett:
- SWAT Team Interlocal Agreement (2014) – Agreement to combine city and county SWAT teams into a single regional SWAT team to respond to high-risk criminal activity
- Embedded Social Worker Agreement (2015) – Pilot program to embed a county social worker with the city's police force to assist with police responses to people with mental health, substance abuse, behavioral, housing, or financial needs
- Whatcom County/Skagit County Rifle Range Agreement (2017) – Allowing Skagit County deputies to use Whatcom County rifle range for firearms training, qualification, and practice.
- International Association of Chiefs of Police: Consolidating Police Services: An IACP Planning Approach Executive Brief (2003) – Brief overview of police consolidation, including recommended two-step approach to explore whether consolidation is desirable or feasible for your jurisdiction
- Forming Municipal Partnerships - A Practical Guide for Local Government (2006), Association of Washington Cities