Law-Enforcement Boundaries Blur
Seaside, Pacific Grove consider more shared police services.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
They’ve got to hop across Monterey to reach one another, but the cities of Pacific Grove and Seaside are looking to further merge their public safety departments.
The cities already share a police chief, and in the past they’ve shared patrol. Officials say closer coordination will result in more efficiency, capacity and cost savings for both cities. But on Jan. 15, the Seaside City Council hesitated over the proposal and instead gave Seaside/Pacific Grove Police Chief Vicki Myers more homework.
“Citizens in Seaside have expressed concerns to councilmembers as to whether this agreement might in any way shortchange us,” Seaside City Manager John Dunn says. “The answer is no, it does not.”
Myers says shared regional services have worked well for the Monterey Peninsula special-response unit, violence and narcotics team, and other programs that pool law enforcement personnel from participating local agencies.
Seaside and P.G. could potentially share records, administration, supervision, traffic, parking, animal control and jail services, Myers says. Not on that list: patrol. “That’s too big a bite of the apple,” she says. “I don’t think either city is comfortable with that at this point.”
A deeper level of shared services is fairly new to Seaside, but not necessarily to P.G. “We’ve been doing it for a few years with Carmel, and it’s worked quite well for us,” P.G. City Manager Tom Frutchey says. “Shared services have both potential savings and potential increases in effectiveness.”
The P.G. City Council on Jan. 3 unanimously approved the step toward more shared police services with Seaside.
The city of Monterey, a direct neighbor to both Seaside and P.G., is not a part of that effort. Myers says Seaside and P.G. police use the same records-management system and operations policy, allowing personnel to work off the same page, while Monterey uses different systems.
She’ll return to the Seaside City Council with a more detailed proposal Feb. 7.