San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Rod Hoops

April 15, 2012 3:02 PM
KATIE LUCIA, Staff Writer

BARSTOW • As local governments explore ways to cut costs, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is offering a solution Barstow leaders say they won’t buy: contract police work to the sheriff.

At a county-city conference last month, San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops gave a presentation on the department’s goals, one of which was to replace city police departments with sheriff contracts, according to Barstow Mayor Joe Gomez, who attended the conference. There, Hoops discussed the cost savings of contracting with the county.

Barstow is among 12 cities in the county currently maintaining a city police force. It is the only city in the High Desert not contracting with the sheriff’s department.

“In these tough budget times, the combined resources of a sheriff’s department are the best economic decision for a city,” Cindy Bachman, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, said via e-mail. “For instance, the sheriff has a Homicide, Narcotics, SWAT, Crimes Against Children Divisions, et cetera — these specialized divisions handle cases countywide and each station does not need to have staff to handle these typically lengthy and usually high profile cases.”

Currently, the city spends nearly $9 million annually on the Barstow Police Department, accounting for more than half the city’s operating expenditures.

Despite the argued cost savings of a sheriff’s contract, many city leaders were strongly opposed to the concept.

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