Rethinking the Structure of Policing

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Explore:  Public Safety

More and more cities throughout California are looking for ways to cut public safety costs. Typically, cities consider contract services from neighboring law enforcement agencies to consolidate or provide services. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach? The answers depend on the size and needs of the community, service levels, response times and  bottom line cost savings. According to a California State University, Stanislaus study conducted by Dr. Peter J. Nelligan and Dr. William Bourns, 30% of the 478 cities in California contract with their county sheriff for police services. Outsourcing services is projected to increase.

East Palo Alto is another example of a city considering this option, with an eye towards fiscal responsibility (see San Jose Mercury News article). While consolidation or contracting of services can seem impossible, rethinking and reinventing the structure of policing can be accomplished through small steps. When approached incrementally, as a continuum, consolidation actually offers greater flexibility than might first be apparent.

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More and more cities throughout California are looking for ways to cut public safety costs. Typically, cities consider contract services from neighboring law enforcement agencies to consolidate or provide services. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach? The answers depend on the size and needs of the community, service levels, response times and  bottom line cost savings. According to a California State University, Stanislaus study conducted by Dr. Peter J. Nelligan and Dr. William Bourns, 30% of the 478 cities in California contract with their county sheriff for police services. Outsourcing services is projected to increase.

East Palo Alto is another example of a city considering this option, with an eye towards fiscal responsibility (see San Jose Mercury News article). While consolidation or contracting of services can seem impossible, rethinking and reinventing the structure of policing can be accomplished through small steps. When approached incrementally, as a continuum, consolidation actually offers greater flexibility than might first be apparent.