The Twin Cities Police Authority and the Sa took another step towards consolidation Tuesday night as the San Anselmo Town Council gave their blessing to a plan to further share some dispatch services and officers – leaving the door open to becoming “one big happy family,” said San Anselmo Police Chief Charles Maynard, in the future.
The proposed plan, brought forward by Maynard and Twin Cities Police Authority Chief Todd Cusimano, would save San Anselmo $51,000 immediately and another $113,000 in the near future, with additional benefits.
With the council’s direction, Maynard said, the police department had been looking into ways to share services, work seamlessly, and better serve the residents.
“This is the best opportunity to achieve that goal,” said Maynard.
The plan, which will be finalized in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) later this month, combines the departments' support services. Twin Cities has had their dispatch located in San Anselmo since January 2010, while the new Twin Cities Police Authority building is constructed, and San Anselmo Police Captain Nick Valeri has been serving as dispatch manager. The cost of his position will be split between the two police departments – an immediate savings of $51,000 to San Anselmo. Additionally, a lieutenant from Twin Cities will be available for additional support dispatch services at no cost to San Anselmo.
While the dispatch services have been located in San Anselmo, it has provided an opportunity, said Maynard and Cusimano, for the dispatchers to be trained in the two similar systems. This allows them to serve as reserve dispatchers for each department – at a regular hourly rate not an overtime rate – and cuts down on training costs.
Once the dispatch is officially consolidated following the finalization of the MOU, San Anselmo goes from four dispatchers down to three due to attrition (one dispatcher has stated an intent to leave) and Twin Cities supplies five dispatchers. This saves San Anselmo $113,000 annually.
When the Twin Cities Police Authority building is completed in February 2012 near Piper Park, the proposal is to relocate San Anselmo dispatch services to the new “state-of-the-art” facility, said Maynard.
During regular business hours, there would continue to be a person at the front desk in San Anselmo. But, after hours, a resident would have to pick up the phone outside and go through dispatch to enter the police building.
Additional plans include combining investigation units, moving the problematic evidence room from San Anselmo to Twin Cities’ new building, utilizing Twin Cities new equipment and emergency resources, and employees that also work part-time in the other town, including an administrative assistant and background investigation officer.
In the future, the two departments may consider complete consolidation. But, emphasized Maynard, under that plan there would be more officers on the streets, always be officers in the station in San Anselmo, and the small town community feel would be the same.
Maynard also said he will retire in the next few years and his retirement may create an opportunity to join services with the Twin Cities under one chief. Though there would always be officers in San Anselmo, he said, the one-a-half miles between the two departments wouldn’t hinder a chief overseeing both departments.
While Maynard said other attempts at police consolidation “just haven’t been a good fit,” the efforts between the Twin Cities personnel and San Anselmo have been “seamless.”
“It’s kind of the perfect relationship,” said Maynard.
, but past studies had been rejected by Fairfax because of a decrease in services – particularly the elimination of the 24-hour front desk in Fairfax. The Fairfax Town Council voted in 2009 not to accept the proposal from San Anselmo and to take the issue off the table.
Cusimano also spoke about the camaraderie and ease between the two staffs. He said the most important aspect is that the two departments share a similar community-focused philosophy. “The concern [with consolidation] is that they treat this community, our community, like our family,” he said.
All five council members said they were in support of the plan. The Larkspur Town Council also voted 4-0 Monday night to move forward with the proposal.
“I look forward to a closer relationship,” said Council Member Tom McInerney.
The important thing both council members and residents said would be that the town and department retain it’s own identity and services. Most people, though, were supportive of cost-saving measures.
“It’s something we get asked about all the time on the street,” said Council Member Kay Coleman. “What about consolidation?”
“The Twin Cities will become the tri-cities. And include Ross and it’s the quad-cities,” said Arnie Scher, joking that then they’ll have to get new uniforms.
But Maynard said they had already thought of that and didn’t want to have to spend money in the future on uniforms, so they’d be sending out brochures with both logos and that of a new logo for the Central Marin Police to inform residents about what was going on.