Jim Benedict | Christy Lane
The Del Mar Finance Committee, at their last meeting, voted to ask our city council to put the process in place to form our own city police department. The finance committee members have been working on this initiative for close to four years and have reviewed numerous options before coming to the conclusion that our own police department was the best solution for our city.
The goal is to have our own police department in place by July, 2017. We would like to not continue use the Sheriff’s current contract for the following reasons -
1. Costs. The current sheriff contract costs our city $2.2 million annually with increases projected annually of around 5%. With our own police department, we can have local control of our costs
2. Seasonality. The sheriff does not have the ability to adjust to huge seasonality needs that our city has. “The Fair/Race track/beach seasons need more part-time police coverage that our own police dept. can implement and manage.
3. Staffing. We can significantly increase the number of officers on patrol with our own police force with the same amount of money we pay for sheriff services..
4. Response times. A major concern is the slow response times to 911 calls. The goal of our own police force is to reduce response times for many issues that take, on average, 44 minutes to under 10 minutes.
5. Community Policing. Another issue is continuity of sheriff staffing. We have had continued turnover of Sheriff leadership for our city and the ‘on-the-ground’ sheriff’s. Our own police force would significantly increase continuity and familiarity of our police officers.
If we form our own police department we still retain all the services of the Sheriff that every other city in the county gets - Helicopter, SWAT, county jail, forensics, extra detective services if needed, all the sheriff services that cities have with their own police departments like Carlsbad and Coronado.
Where do we house this new department? - Inside the new budget is rent to house our police dept. Until a permanent facility is secured, our police dept. will rent space in town. Forming our own police department is an important milestone for our city. If you want more information, please reach out to me and I would be happy to share much more information in detail.