Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Would San Leandro Support Outsourcing Its Police?

By Steven Tavares

San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy did not get off to a good start with the city’s police officers. His stance on pensions angered the powerful Police Officers Association, but a plan floated by the new mayor may pale in comparison to having officers pay more for their pension.

City insiders for weeks have noted rumors Cassidy is open to the option of looking at whether the cash-strapped city should outsource its police department services to outside jurisdictions, namely the far more fiscally-challenged Alameda County Sheriff Department.

Such talk is both political explosive and bold. After Monday’s swearing-in of new San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli, the president for the Police Officers Association said he broached the subject to Cassidy during a recent meeting with the mayor. "I asked him, but I don't think he's leaning that way." said Sgt. Mike Sobek. Amid election rhetoric last year, Sobek described Cassidy as “no friend of the POA,” but after meeting Cassidy, he found him bright and articulate.

San Leandro residents consistently rate public safety as their overwhelmingly top priority. This is no different than any other municipality and could difficult reach for Cassidy in attracting support among residents. There is precedent, though, in San Leandro, in addition to across the Bay in San Carlos where the city council last year voted to outsource its 85-year-old police department to the county.

San Leandro’s fire services were outsourced to the county earlier this decade without much disruption in service, but any plan to disband the police department would be difficult to pull off. “The residents of San Leandro would not be in favor of it,” said Sobek. While doubting such a plan would ever get off the ground, he nonetheless lamented the numbers of officer, a majority of whom grew up in the city losing a chance to defend their home.

Last June, San Carlos became one of the first Bay Area cities to disband their police force. The impetus for the move was necessitated, the council said, by a budget deficit in the neighborhood of $3 million, two-thirds of which would be saved by outsourcing the department to the county. San Leandro’s current budget deficit for the next fiscal year in June could be similar without a rise in revenue in the next few months.

Detractors of outsourcing say cities risk losing control of their public safety apparatus in addition to the ethical question of whether the importance of police and fire services are paramount over other sections of city budget.


  1. You could outsource all city workers in San Leandro, and there would be nothing but improvement. Outsource city finances to Account Temps; and outsource city planning to retarded schoolchildren - you'd find they do a lot better job than Luke Sims, and they'd have a higher intellect.

  2. Why would the county want to be paying lawsuits for our cops killing people in their cars. This is just posturing. Nobody will go along with any plan like this. It's a non-starter.

  3. As a San Leandro Resident, I would support it. Police eat up too big a piece of the pie. Those stupid surveys that say public safety are all bogus and probably paid for by the police, it's a joke.

  4. Dublin has done it since becoming a city in the mid-80s and it has helped them. It wouldn't hurt SL, but then again, can Alameda County handle it?

    Don't ask the new Supervisor, it's a lot to think about.

  5. Hey jackass, that theif was attempting to run the cop over in a STOLEN vehicle you dumbass. Look what happened in Oakland a couple years ago, when the cops used kid gloves on that bastard; 4 dead cops. So go to hell you punk.

  6. Punk? I'm 52 years old. Can is surmise that stealing anything is an excuse to kill? I wasn't really trying to be a jerk about it, just fact that these situations lead to six figure settlements.

  7. No, stealing is not an excuse to kill, you moron. But attempting to use a stolen vehicle to run down a cop is a reason to use deadly force. She refused to turn off the engine. She refused to get out of the vehicle. She had the vehicle in reverse and was attempting to peel out. She had a criminal record. She was not just some "kid who made a mistake". She was a 39 year old woman. Don't give us any bleeding heart crap.

  8. So when these new police officers employed by the county start making grave mistakes in San Leandro who are we going to blame and how can we fix it. We won't be able since we chose to save a few million and give up control of our public safety. This is something city's do as a last resort. This city is relatively strong if you look at other neighboring cities.

  9. Strong because City Hall has been able to hide tens of millions, close to $100 million in various accounts while chasing businesses and residents away.

  10. Manuel, while we love you dearly, you are so out of touch with this area and its people it seems you might want to consider joining your fellow ultra conservative thinkers away form the central Bay area? You would be much happier, I would think.

  11. Mary I love tormenting the fools who sit next to me at Mass every week. Hypocrites all of them. Then there's the out of towners who were run out of various towns in the Mid-West, usually on morals charges that I enjoy needling. It has been said that the first step to wisdom is to admit that you're a fool, well I admitted I was raised amongst fools long ago and I'm by far wiser now because of it.
    Thanks for the support.