Forest Lake Reaches Tentative Deal To Keep Police Force

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A controversial move to eliminate the Forest Lake Police Department could now be reversed.

The tentative deal comes after a heated city council meeting earlier this week when the community was told the department would be disbanded.

There has been strong reactions from the public since the decision came down Monday night. The idea was to contract law enforcement services with Washington County instead.

Now, the county has pulled out of the deal.

And on Thursday, city officials and the police union also reached a tentative agreement.

Forest Lake Mayor Ben Winnick says the proposal to disband the department would have saved the city around $375,000 a year.

“The cost of it was secondary,” Winnick said. “When we started the process, it was about looking at alternative forms of service to compare to what we have now.”

The tentative agreement to back out of that proposal comes after major public pushback. Hundreds of high school students walked out of class Tuesday to support the city’s police force.

Students like Kalley Berg were thrilled when the agreement was announced Thursda.

“It’s amazing, we didn’t give up, we weren’t going to give up,” she said. “We were defeated, but there was another option, we were going to fight for.”

The final vote on the tentative agreement will be up to the Forest Lake City Council on Monday night.

The mayor says he is ready to move on.

“I’m looking forward to Monday night, but I think we all want to have a resolution to it.”

The agreement would keep the department running through at least 2019.

The mayor says he won’t try to sway the votes of council members.

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