The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to spend $50,000 to hire a consultant who will examine the possibility of consolidating city and county law enforcement. The council also established a special sub-committee to examine the issue.
Council member Lee Brand helped develop the proposal. “Both the city and the county have severe financial trauma, we’re doing everything we can to sustain even the basic services that we have. And I say this because this is the motivation of why we’re doing this today. I realize that this has been studied before, and I realize that $50,000 is a lot of money.”
But he says that the end result might save both the city and county millions, possibly ending early releases from the jail and putting more officers on patrol. But he admitted at this point the potential for savings is uncertain.
In 2006, a consolidation effort promoted by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce failed to gain support, as did a similar effort in the 1990’s.
Sheriff Margaret Mims says she’s open to the talks and noted that the Sheriff’s department already provides services for a number of other cities and jurisdictions in central California.
Earlier this year, the city council and the Fresno Police Officers Association failed to reach an agreement on contract concessions, prompting concerns about the city's financial health.