Forest Lake City Council votes 4-1 to approve FLPD contract

The Forest Lake City Council voted 4-1 to approve a new agreement between the city and the Forest Lake Police Department.

This comes just one week after the City Council voted 3-2 to disband the Forest Lake Police Department and contract policing services from the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

That contract was set to go in front of the Washington County Commissioner's, but two days later the city and the Law of Enforcement Labor Services reached an agreement to keep the Forest Lake Police Department.

"This community just pulled off the impossible," said Councilwoman Mara Bain, who confirmed the rumors of the new agreement last week.

City residents had been outspoken against the change from the very beginning. Throughout the process, residents packed City Hall with signs in support of the Forest Lake officers. After the council approved the contract with Washington County last week, Forest Lake Area Senior High School students staged a walk out in protest.

Terms of the new agreement include a three-year labor contract with two percent salary increases in 2017 and 2018 and a three percent salary increase in 2019, maintenance of retiree benefits, and improving the arbitration process for the future.

"We've got a lot of work to do, but this is the first step in rebuilding," said Forest Lake Capt. Greg Weiss.