Council vote on Forest Lake Police Dept. pushed back another week

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The Forest Lake City Council will need another week before voting on the proposal that would disband their police department amid rising costs. The city council had planned to vote on the proposal Monday.

Hundreds of residents showed up at City Hall Monday night in a last ditch effort to save the department.

The public comment period went on for about four hours.

After deliberation from the council members, at around 11:30 p.m. the council voted to continue to discussion on May 8.

The City Council had planned to vote on whether or not to disband the Forest Lake Police Department and begin contracting policing services from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The city says the move will save them more than $350,000 a year. It will also put 23 officers out of work.

Forest Lake police officers arrived at the meeting to much applause and cheers from supporters and sat in the front row.

The city says officers will be able to apply for open positions created at the sheriff's office if they approve a contract.

Residents say they worry about the implications of bringing in outsiders to police their city.

“Maybe you won’t listen to my opinion alone, but listen to the people,” said one resident. “We are the people and we are this city. We the people are together as one and tell you what we want. If you vote to disband the FLPD you are making a choice to save short-term costs resulting in long-term loss."

In addition to the hundreds who packed City Hall, 6,000 people signed a petition to keep the police department.

The vote weighs on one city council member who came to the meeting tonight undecided.