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13 OC cities collaborating on law enforcement cost, efficiency study

Thirteen Orange County cities are collaborating on a study to evaluate operational cost and efficiency opportunities in the delivery of police services from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.  While the 13 cities acknowledge and appreciate that it is more cost effective to contract with the Sheriff’s Department rather than form their own police departments, it is nonetheless time to evaluate opportunities for greater efficiencies, share regional service costs and even consider sharing staff positions.  

The City of Mission Viejo is taking the lead on forming a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the cities of Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Stanton, Villa Park and Yorba Linda. The MOU will make way for an Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) Law Enforcement Cost and Efficiency Study to identify the trends and issues driving annual increases in the cost for services. This cooperative effort is an outgrowth of discussions between City, County and OCSD executive leadership.

“I welcome this study and any opportunity it brings to enhance our operations and our partnership with our contract city customers,” said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.

Over the last 10 fiscal years, costs for OCSD law enforcement services have increased on average by 33%, with about 26% of the increase occurring in the last five years. During the last four fiscal years, average growth in contract costs has ranged from 5.69% to 7.40%. Before that, growth ranged from 0.31% to 3.00%.

As a result, the cost of the OCSD contract is becoming a greater percentage of the cities’ General Fund budgets.

While law enforcement contract costs may increase due to changes in service hours or staffing levels requested by a specific city, most of the increases are out of the cities’ hands. The rising costs are primarily driven by deputy salaries and pension benefits. Those increases fall under the control of the County Board of Supervisors and Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS).

“There is no question that public safety is the top priority and we appreciate the services the Sheriff’s Department provides and understand the importance of attracting and retaining top law enforcement personnel to protect our communities,” said Mission Viejo City Manager Dennis Wilberg. “However, the costs must balance the ability to afford the expected service levels.”

The MOU will go to the City Councils for consideration and approval this month and next. A Request for Proposals (RFP) for the study is expected to be issued in October/November.

Comments

MV Joe's picture

I applaud the City of Mission Viejo and the coalition for evaluating operational cost and efficiency opportunities within the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Questions to ask:
1. What efforts have the OCSD taken to pay down the unfunded pension liability?
2. Why can't the OCSD put a cap on annual increases, allowing cities to more effectively budget for the future?
3. Why is the OCSD empire building with paramedic and helicopter rescue when that service is already provided by the fire department?

A 26% increase in service costs in five years is unacceptable and cities will have no choice but to cut programs. Time for the OCSD to wake up and accept some responsibility here.

Bruce Lee's picture

Lol MV Joe you shouldnt pretend you know what youre talking about when in reality youre lost. Here are the three answers to your probing questions in short.

1. Over the past few years they have had the percentage they pay into their pensions increased from about 12% up to 17%. Which in dollars is about $700 A PAY CHECK for a top step Deputy Sheriff and increases or decreases from there dependent on rank and step. That is $1,400 a month being taken out of their income.

2. There is a cap on annual increases both in the sense of an evaluation raise AND their salaries overall.

3. The county law enforcement agency is traditionally the agency who is responsible for rescues. Look to LA County. That was lost some years ago and is only simply returning as it should be.

And just another food for thought, the public gets so carried away with the dollar amounts of wages and annual income amounts BUT what no one except the families of these men and women realize is after paying for their 17% retirement contribution, medical benefits, taxes, and medicare, most only take home about 60-65% of what YOU think they do. I could bet if you looked at yourself your annual take home percentage is WELL above that.

Hope youre educated now

Barbara Hosmer's picture

bruce lee,

i think you need a math class. if i may, let me explain how this poor deputy's take home is normal.

first of all, we all lose 7.65% to social security and fica.
then, there's .9% for sdi in ca.
using your figures of $1400/mo being "taken" from this poor officer's check as being 17% of gross, his income would be about $98823.50/yr. now we all have to have something withheld for income taxes. in his case...and with our "progressive" tax code...while he'd be in the 28% tax bracket, but he'd really only have to have 20% withheld for fit. and sit would be about 6%.

add that up & you have 34.55% going out to taxes. leaving 65.45% "pre-perks" take home.

everybody i know who's ever worked for any entity pays something for health care. most of us have no control over that. deal with it.

i got out one of my husband's previous paychecks. i do admit our "pre-perks" take home was about 73%

the difference? no one was taking 17% out for a pension! (you score points!)

but we were contributing, AS A PERK, to a 401 k because...not one of the many companies he worked for in his 40 year career offered a pension!

now that he's retired, we are living off "the fat of the land we cultivated...and the kindness of strangers," as i put it.

no pension.

wanta trade??

Kent Pace's picture

The OC Sheriff's department is rife with corruption and malfeasance. Mission Viejo residents deserve a police force that is dedicated to the citizens of MV. All officers should be residents of MV. Just Google the lawsuits against the Sheriffs department, particularly the operation of the jail. We are ready to bear the costs of a dedicated Mission Viejo Police Department.

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