A group made up of citizens throughout the cities of Riverside County were concerned about the rising cost of law enforcement so they thought they could save money while also boosting the local police force by forming their a joint agency.
The nine municipalities are currently in contract with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department to police the cities and would see their combined cost drop by about 10 percent, which is roughly $14 million a year, according to a study conducted by a local consult ting firm.
This study was commissioned by the nine Riverside County cities over a year ago after discussing this matter with their officials on how they can possibly slow the rising cost of working as a group. The idea of joining their forces came nearly a year later in 2015 during a summit meeting of mayors in Temecula, California.
The study results were presented to the local leaders who led the effort with participating cities that include Temecula, Perris, Coachella, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, San Jacinto, Wildomar and Jurupa Valley.
President of the consulting group told the city council that their study findings showed substantial cost savings.
The nine cities in combination currently pay just over $138 million a year for police services, but to offer the same or higher level of police service as a joint agency would cost them considerably less at just over $111 million a year. That being said, the new agency would require a start-up cost of $66 million to cover the cost of facilities, patrol cars and all the equipment and services that comes with running a law enforcement agency.
The consulting firm’s president suggest that they agency can pay the start up cost with a 10 year bond but would add another $8 million a year to their overall cost, which is about $14 million less than the cost of the sheriff’s department contract.
There is also the issue with range costs per cities. The larger cities like Temecula would see the most decrease in cost but the smaller cities of which there are three, will see their cost go up.
The costs for this joint agency would be spread amongst the cities based on their population, call for service, and participation in specialty units, but the president of the consulting said that no city would be subsidizing another.
The studies aside and decrease in cost of for law enforcement, all the cities involved have said they are happy with the service they have been provided with by the sheriff’s department but the rising contract costs is getting to be too much.
The finance director for Temecula said that while the cost is an issue it is also important to note the type of service their city would get from a joint agency. She said it is a difficult decision because they are happy with their service.
Other officials with the other eight cities have said similarly and their decision would not be based on the bottom line.