SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The debate surrounding a resolution to authorize up to $750,000 to a police department in an unincorporated area of San Mateo County got heated Tuesday.
For years, county officials say concerns have been raised about the financial stability of the Broadmoor Police Department, the only active police protection district in the state of California.
The department serves nearly 7,000 people in an unincorporated area of the county that's surrounded by Daly City to the southeast of the city of Colma. It's governed by a three-member board of police commissioners.
On Tuesday, Supervisor David Canepa sponsored a resolution to grant up to $750,000 to keep the department running for another two years. This comes as the Broadmoor Police Protection District is working on a ballot measure that would raise the special assessment tax - money that is said to be used to help keep the department staffed.
"The department is frankly underfunded," said Sup. Canepa.
Canepa says after conducting several town halls, the community is worried about public safety.
"I need my police department to keep me safe," one woman said, adding concerns about extended emergency response times if the department is dissolved.
But other residents disagree -pointing out the department has a controversial history with some of its officers, including numerous lawsuits, and allegations of misusing taxpayer money.
"The Broadmoor word is worth nothing," said one constituent. "They will lie, they will cheat, and they will steal. They will use this money to file for bankruptcy."
Another constituent criticized how allocating additional funding would address the existing spending problem.
"It doesn't feel like a $700K ask is really going to fix the spending problem and the leadership that Broadmoor has, that got us into this place," said another resident.
One person living in the town of Broadmoor voiced concerns about Canepa's plan to form an accountability committee to ensure funds are spent appropriately. She says it appeared no where in his proposal.
Board President Dave Pine asked Canepa about that.
"Mr. Canepa is there currently in place an accountability and sustainability plan?" Pine asked.
"Yeah, it's interesting you've asked that question. I think... no," Canepa said.
San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus says she's not looking to take over the department.
"The department has had a lot of financial challenges, financially troubled," said Corpus. "In the event that they are not able to sustain a police department, we will step in and provide those services to the residents there."
Sheriff Corpus added if that happens, the county will have a deputy stationed in the town of Broadmoor and another deputy and cover unit protecting the surrounding community.
The resolution did not come to a final vote on Tuesday. After further discussion, Supervisor Canepa indicated he will work to gather more information on the matter.
The next vote will take place on November 7.
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