Clallam sheriff pursuing $9.6M grant for public safety facility

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office is pursuing a $9.6 million Department of Defense grant to help fund construction of the Joint Public Safety Facility.

“This is an exciting opportunity,” Sheriff Brian King said. “Commissioner Randy Johnson, County Administrator Todd Mielke and Chief Civil Deputy Diane Harvey have put a lot of work into the ability for us to apply for this grant.

“Diane Harvey is a rock star. She worked on this diligently during her weekend.”

Harvey told the Clallam County commissioners at their June 10 work session that the Defense Community Infrastructure Program is specifically geared for community projects that support military installations. So they sought a letter of support from the commander of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, she said.

“This program requires you to delineate the military value that the community project provides,” Harvey said.

“And so with us, because it’s the Navy and not the Coast Guard, the Navy has a ‘transit protection facility’ here in Clallam County.

“And its operation is the movement of ballistic submarines, which have to surface in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. So our emergency management or public safety facility would provide value to that military mission.”

The Joint Public Safety Facility, estimated to cost $13 million, would house the Clallam County Emergency Operations Center, which is activated during emergencies such as a massive earthquake, as well as the Emergency Management division of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and Peninsula Communications (PenCom), which handles 911 calls.

In the future, a west side city fire station could be added.

Harvey said county officials met with senior navy representatives, who believe the county’s emergency management and communications and 911 dispatch center will provide great military value if it’s sited in a resilient, secure location that is close to — but not in — the tsunami inundation zone.

“We are offering for the navy to be able to conduct their training and exercises in our new facility,” she said. “And of course they would have a seat at the table in any emergency incident, where they could use it as a command center.”

King said submarines using the strait is “a strategic high priority for the navy.”

“And so they see the value of that globally and are very much in support of the application,” he said.

Harvey said the grant program had 140 applications and only 17 were funded last year, so it is highly competitive.

They focused their grant application on the joint public safety facility’s military value, which accounts for 45 of 100 points on the application scoring, she said.

“And there’s only $100 million to this. So it is possible that even if we get put on the list, that we don’t get the full amount,” Harvey said.

“The grant program also has a two-step process, so if the county application is selected in mid-August, DOD will provide a technical assistant to make sure the county can meet the schedule in the grant application,” she said.

“We must be able to break ground by the middle of September of 2025,” Harvey said.