Some San Anselmo residents have been surprised to see Twin Cities Police patrolling their neighborhoods lately.
Officers in Twin Cities Police uniforms fill in sometimes at the San Anselmo Police station.
The lines between the two jurisdictions might be blurring, and it's possible the boundaries between the two police agencies will be erased completely.
It's all part of an ongoing shared services agreement between the Twin Cities Police Authority and San Anselmo Police. Larkspur City Manager Dan Schwarz said at a Twin Cities Police Council meeting on May 30 that there have been some "dynamic" indicators that the two agencies are moving toward consolidation.
The San Anselmo Town Council held a workshop on May 22 during which council members asked about joining the TCPA. The Town Council also asked city manager to ask for a six-month extension of the labor agreement with the San Anselmo Police Officers Association.
"We take all of that in whole … as a signal that San Anselmo's going to decide one way or another on a course that would have them joining us, should we desire, by the start of the next calendar year," Schwarz said.
The Twin Cities Police Council meets again today, June 25, at 4 p.m. at Twin Cities Police headquarters. The agenda is attached.
Under the current shared services agreement, the San Anselmo Police share dispatch services with the TCPA based in the new headquarters on Doherty Drive. With the partnership, the agencies were able to cut staff from 10 dispatchers to seven and go from two dispatch supervisors to one.
“We found that that relationship was very positive,” said San Anselmo Police Chief Charles Maynard.
The two agencies also share one lieutenant and three captains under the agreement, which Twin Cities Police Chief Todd Cusimano says has created a considerable savings for both agencies.
A recent Marin COunty Civil Grand Jury report, “Preschoolers Learn to Share: Can Governments?” cites the recent merger of the Twin Cities and San Anselmo police departments as a good example of sharing services, with those agencies collectively saving approximately $500,000 as a result of the move.
"Consolidation" is a frightening word to many people, especially when it comes to emergency services. Others see it as a necessary next step. Fairfax Police recently agreed to share dispatch services with College of Marin District Police. The Larkspur and San Rafael fire departments are sharing chiefs.
The Grand Jury stops short of calling for outright consolidation among agencies, acknowledging that there are numerous obstacles to consolidation, including the difference in the financial health of each district, the job losses that would come as a result of consolidation and agencies’ interest in maintaining jurisdictional control, among others.
The report didn’t recommend specific service-sharing arrangements, but rather outlined a number of moves that would help the situation:
- The county should immediately publish on its website a list of all of the special districts and joint powers authorities and their contact information, “to improve the public’s awareness of and access to all those taxing entities.”
- City and town councils and the Marin County Board of Supervisors should require annual reports from their top officials to identify opportunities for shared services.
- When facing major capital expenses on things like facilities and equipment, every government agency should seek out other entities to share the use and costs of those items.
— Mill Valley Patch editor Jim Welte contributed to this report