The following letter was sent by Contra Costa County Sheriff David O. Livingston to the Mayor of Oakley and the City Council regarding its study to form a separate police department.
The letter highlights costs that are potentially not being included in the study which are included in the current contract. The Sheriff also notes that the cost per Sheriffs Deputy will decrease in Fiscal Year2015-16 by $4,000 each.
During the City of Oakley Council meeting on February 24, the City noted they studied 30-components of police services from 27-different agencies. The City also noted it would not be providing a budget to the public because they would have to negotiate services and contracts and it would put them in a disadvantage.
On During the Wednesday, February 25 community meeting, Oakley Finance Director Paul Abelson stated the cost analysis looks great in the first few years, but they did not do a 5, 10 or 20-year budget outlook on police services.
Abelson also explained that the survey they did for the 30-components of police services but did not include a cost.
When asked if they had a list of the 30-componets current costs versus what they found in the survey versus what they anticipate the cost to be, Abelson stated they did not do that because each city provides services differently based on the size of the department.
“The component part of the equation which was referred to as principally related to surveying we did how people are providing the service, we did not necessarily go out and price each one at each comparative like that. I don’t want to use the word ridiculous, but that would be a lot of additional work,” said Abelson. “Where there is a clear decision that you look at, where say, Modesto is a city that provides that in-house but virtually every mid-sized city is going to do that on contract. We already do it on contract and we pretty much know what the cost is going to be. We are not going to go do a lot of extra research for something that is likely going to be more expensive.”
He noted that the City has been in contact with cities who had transferred out of their contract such as San Ramon and Citrus Heights. He noted that Citrus Heights does much more in house than San Ramon–he noted San Ramon is much more of a “hybrid”.
Below is a copy of the letter from the Sheriff.
March 5, 2015
Mayor Hardcastle and Councilmembers
City of Oakley
3231 Main St, Oakley CA 94561
RE: Study of Forming a Separate Police Department
Dear Mayor Hardcastle and Councilmembers:
In light of the recent presentation provided to the City Council, I feel some additional perspective may be helpful regarding the costs associated with providing police services to the City of Oakley. I am aware of the process currently underway to explore the viability of a city-operated police department and believe careful consideration should be given to the real cost of such a move. For example, the analysis should also include many of the functions that the Office of the Sheriff historically provided at no additional cost to the City of Oakley and are included in the per-deputy cost. This financial benefit may not have been considered during the presentation.
These additional functions include the following:
- Workers Compensation coverage to include the immediate replacement of an injured employee without the City of Oakley having to carry the vacancy.
- Crime Scene Technician response to process complex crime scenes
- Special Enforcement Teams deployed at no additional cost when requested to mitigate an increase in crime or handle rapidly evolving events.
- Management oversight 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365 days per year (Captain or Watch Commander) in the absence of the Chief of Police.
- All misdemeanor complaint processing and filings
- Timely support from SWAT, Search and Rescue, Air Support and Marine Patrol
- Administrative functions to include such tasks as Crime Analysis
- Full and complete Internal Affair investigations, including working with employees’ legal counsel, to resolve charges of misconduct or citizen complaints. (For example, over the past three years, Internal Affairs and management personnel spent approximately 185 hours investigating and reviewing six citizen complaints that originated out of the City of Oakley. The personnel costs associated with these investigations exceeded $23,000 during that period.
- Imposition of discipline and retraining for any employee’s substandard performance. Handling of all employment or discipline related appeals, hearings, complaints, etc.
- Ongoing in-service training to meet and exceed the standards required by the California Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST).
- Ongoing in-service training supervisors and managers in best practices and leadership skill development.
While these services are currently “built in” or absorbed into the current police services contract, the fiscal impacts associated with these services if performed by a stand-alone police agency should also be included in an exploratory study of a city-operated police model.
Additionally, for response to major and high profile cases, highly specialized detectives and an in-house Deputy District attorney specifically trained to investigate homicides, sexual assaults, high-tech crimes, vice, and narcotics investigations are provided to the City of Oakley at current contractual rates on a moments notice.
A variety of other additional services are provided on a daily basis pursuant to the provisions of the contract. These services include the timely processing of requests pursuant to the Public Records Act, Press Information Officer duties, providing crime reports to the public and allied agencies, repossessed vehicle releases, subpoenas, and validations. As our Records and Identification Unit processed 4,392 reports and 425 warrants for the City in 2014 alone, these costs should also be carefully reviewed in the study.
Additionally, any assessment of the cost of police services must include the recruitment and training of new officers. These cost include the salaries and benefits of personnel assigned to conduct recruiting, perform background investigations, and provide management oversight. Currently, the cost to recruit and train a new Deputy Sheriff totals $26,206 per deputy. As these costs are not passed on to the City under the current contractual agreement, these additional functions would also have to be considered “in house” expenses going forward. Unless the City intends to only hire “lateral” transfer officers exclusively, the time and cost of recruiting, back grounding and hiring entry-level sworn officers in the future will be significant.
On the subject of increases costs for personnel salaries and benefits, I share the Councils concerns regarding the future ability of the City of Oakley to add additional officers and enhance police services. Providing police services is no doubt an expensive proposition, and is the greatest responsibility a city or county owes to its residents. Fortunately, we have recently learned that the actual cost for contract Deputy Sheriffs in Tier A will go down in the coming year, not up. This is due primarily to the way the county’s retirement system, (CCCERA) calculates terminal pay. In fact, the County Finance Director has indicated the total cost per Tier A Deputy will decline by approximately $4,000 each in the coming contract year. Since the City of Oakley currently has 24 Tier A employees assigned (a majority of staff), this savings alone represents nearly $100,000 in FY 15-16.
Finally, I appreciate the kind words mentioned in a recent news article about the outstanding quality of services provided by the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff. I also appreciate City Manager Bryan Montgomery’s frequent and helpful discussions with me and my staff as this item has moved forward. Please know we remain committed to providing the most effective police services at the most affordable rates available. Neither the county nor my office makes a profit on the contract model; we simply pass our direct costs onto the contracting agency. That will not change.
David O. Livingston
CC: Assemblyman Jim Frazier
Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Piepho
Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa
Oakley City Manager Bryan Montgomery
Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriffs Association President Shawn Welch
Click the images below to enlarge
Thank you Sheriff for bringing some common sense to this discussion. Oakley is not big enough and does not have the revenue to sustain the cost of its own police department. With no budget being created for the study, why is this even being discussed by the council? Wouldn’t one want to know how much it costs in the big picture versus the cost of a deputy?
This is where the fire board has screwed up by wanting local control and not taking cost into consideration.
Oakley needs to do its homework before making any decision and by the finance directors comments, they have not done everything they can to ensure to the public this is a good idea.
I believe a response by the City of Oakley could be a great step in ensuring the public they have or have not taken the sheriffs comments into consideration.
Instead of the back and forth, Oakley needs to just admit they want local control of their police department. It would take out all debate and they can move forward because they want local control. Instead, they look like fools with comments made by the finance director.
You will continue to see this kind of dumb decision from this council until you get rid of the city manager. He should have been fired over the house purchase deal. Instead you continue to let this man bury you in bad financing. Sheriff Livingston is correct and I appreciate him coming forward and putting honest light on the subject. Remember “staff” is just that. You must question staff at all times and at every turn. Local control is not wanted by all of Oakley only the city manager who will be the sole boss of the police department. Council is the city managers boss.
Why in the world would the city council want to take this risk and throw all of us in to the unknown? Everyone says the sheriff department is doing a great job, we know the REAL costs each year (unlike our finance person) and they have kept us all pretty darn safe. This whole idea is a waste of money and foolish. If contracting with the sheriff department is good enough for Lafayette, Danville, Orinda, (and maybe Moraga but not sure?) why is it not good enough for us???
It took the city staff a year to conclude the Sheriffs office is more expensive than an in house police department. The city has been telling residents its cheaper because the sheriff will keep increasing its cost. Now we find out the city has not done a budget and the sheriff says costs are going down per deputy.
Either oakley has poorly researched this or they are not asking the right questions. The council of oakley is failing us big time by putting everyone in limbo.
The council continues to let Mr. Montgomery make a bunch of buffoons out of them.
7 of the 9 assists the sheriff said they provide we don’t use and would save money doing ourselves. Of course the sheriff wants to keep Oakley PD BECAUSE IT MAKES MONEY.
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