Most city and public safety administrators understand that public safety (police and fire) comprise the largest share of a local municipal budget. Only recently has the topic of consolidation and shared public safety services between communities come into the open.
Some of those forward thinking communities are taking the next step and having studies prepared to show actual cost savings from consolidation/shared services and whether any disruption of services might occur. This article from EfficientGov.org links to a study by CityGate Associates, which shows that the cities of Burlingame and San Mateo, Calif., could realize $282,000 and $459,000, respectively, in annual savings by using virtualized local police dispatch. Virtualization would allow one police department to consolidate all dispatch activity among neighboring/partnering municipalities.
The study also cites other potential savings and benefits from the consolidation, while the article notes that other communities — Los Altos, Palo Alto and Mountain View — have already adopted a similar dispatch consolidation approach. Even as the economy bounces along toward recovery, more and more information suggests that consolidation and shared services are here to stay because the potential cost savings and operational improvements simply are too big to ignore any longer.