San Carlos to continue research on outsourcing police

June 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
To save money, the city of San Carlos is considering doing away with doing away with their entire police department. On Tuesday night, by a vote of 4 -1, the city council agreed to continue researching a police service outsourcing contract with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department.

This comes in light of a $3.5 million deficit in city coffers. Eliminating its 32-member police department would eliminate one-half to one-third of that deficit.

They considered three options Monday night. They looked at the preliminary proposal from Redwood City Police, the Sheriff, and the option of keeping the police department as it is.

A consultant's analysis show the sheriff's proposal will maintain the number of officers on the street at any given time in San Carlos with a more than $2 million savings and the Sheriff says he can hire all of San Carlos' officers, some may even get a raise.

The consultant says cities all across the state will probably be doing the same thing everywhere because cities are in such bad shape.

"I think you guys are at the front of a tidal wave that's going to occur very quickly here and you're going either going to have cities joining together to have multi-city police agencies or their going to go with their local sheriff's department," said consultant Edward Rogner.

"Our business model has changed from the first 55 years of San Carlos. There needs to be mergers, there needs to be JPAs, there needs to be outsourcing," said San Carlos Mayor Randy Royce.

"I think that we need to look at alternatives that include revenue enhancements and not just cuts. Nothing has been said about that this evening. Nothing has been said about parking meters or fees that could be used to off-set some of these costs," said resident Ken Castle.

The Police Officers Association is staunchly opposed to the outsourcing plan and says it will try to put it before the voters in November.

If necessary, in a couple of months the city staff will be back before the council with a fine-tuned outsourcing contract proposal from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department.


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