Police joint powers agreement reviewed by San Jacinto City Council

The possibility of San Jacinto joining other area cities in forming their own large police department under a Joint Powers Agreement was discussed in a special workshop called by the city council, Sept. 19.

The study, started last year, was made by the Matrix Consulting Group on behalf of the nine cities considering the feasibility of a Police Service JPA. The nine cities included in the Police Services JPA study include Coachella, San Jacinto, Jurupa Valley, Menifee, Moreno Valley, Temecula, Wildomar, Perris and Lake Elsinore. The cities now contract with the Riverside County Sheriff for police services.

Richard Brady of Matrix Consulting gave the council the results of their study using data collected from the sheriff and the other cities in 2016.

“We got a lot of information from the sheriff’s department,” Brady said.

He said a JPA would bring each of the joining cities everything they needed for police services, excluding jails and other countywide services like helicopters. He said the regional service could save the cities about 10 percent or about $14 million a year compared to their current costs.

The startup costs to the city of San Jacinto, providing all the other cities joined in, would be about $8.4 million and about $66 million over 10 years. He said that San Jacinto, if it joined, would not “have a lot of early savings,” while the larger cities would “save a lot” in startup costs.

The Matrix study showed San Jacinto in 2016 paid $9,993,198 to the Riverside sheriff’s department for services, and if the services remained the same, a JPA would cost an estimated $9,912,385 with a savings of $79,813.

He said the city would benefit in the long run with having 38 officers on its force by 2021, the recommended number for the local population.

Cost benefits found in the study were that full-time officers and personnel hired would be new and it would save California Public Employees Retirement System costs; there are no unfunded pensions or medical benefits to pay; nonessential services could be reduced or cut and the JPA would still retain the regional county services like jails and civilian personnel in the field.

Councilmen Russ Utz said that with San Jacinto joining the police services JPA “there would be no savings in service levels. We have the same service level now.”

Councilman Andrew Kotyuk inquired about the startup costs, questioning where the city would get the money. He did see it as an alternative to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department contracts.

Parker assured Mayor Pro Tem Alonzo Ledezma the city under a JPA would still have the use of the county jails and the 911 system at no extra cost.

Mayor Scott Miller thanked Parker for the review, commenting that the issue of a Police Services JPA is “something that is not going away.”

City Manager Rob Johnson said the city will meet again in October to further discuss the JPA concept.

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