BOB BARNETT, San Clemente

I read with great interest that the city is initiating an audit of its legal services. Costs can really add up ($8.4 million) quickly (in 5 years) when billing hours are in the hundreds of dollars per.

Eight million dollars is a lot of money, but it’s a little less than half of what the city pays for six months of law-enforcement services. Perhaps the audit can also look at the cost-effectiveness of the city’s ever-increasing cost of outsourcing of law-enforcement services.

We know how much the sheriff’s department charges the city for services ($18 million) every year, but how much does “crime” cost the city and its residents? This would include any city services that may also get involved in repair or mitigation efforts of a crime.

I remember when the city had its own police department, and there seemed to be a different community feel when interacting with local/resident city employees, rather than the current ever-changing rotation of deputies and chiefs.

I also seem to remember a sheriff’s presentation for “resource-increase” (additional deputy) that stated that every deputy is required to “generate” $60K of revenue annually.

Supposedly, the deputy is “free” to the city, and the service contract just pays for their benefits. That seems like a “conflict-of-interest/motivation” for deputies to write citations, which of course disproportionately affects (exposure) the city’s own residents.

And if these deputies are stationed, they have no real tie/relationship with the community and will just “act accordingly” to succeed at work.

Recently, it seemed that the sheriff’s department had the autonomy to “enforce or not,” certain laws, local ordinances, that they may have been confused or conflicted by.

It would seem that a locally seasoned/experienced law-enforcement department could/would intuitively work with the city proactively to “police” its community.

Residents would also come to recognize and trust the city officers and get more involved and communicate more readily within their individual neighborhoods.

The old saying that the “Police will react in minutes when seconds count” has never been more true and relevant.  

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