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  1. #1
    Terminator's Avatar
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    Faced with a huge bill from Broward S.O. town says it might be trading in the blue lights for security guards

    Faced with a huge bill from the Broward Sheriff's Office and dwindling revenues, town leaders say they may have to trade the blue lights of deputies for the yellow lights of security guards.
    During a 20-minute discussion at their monthly meeting, commissioners expressed dismay that the Broward Sheriff's Office wants to raise its fee next year by $1 million, to $2.6 million. On top of that, the Sheriff's Office is asking for as much as an additional $600,000 for this year even though the town has paid its current contract price in full, leaders said.
    "This is insane," Commissioner Howard Clark said, summing up the feeling of his colleagues.
    City Manager Bob Levy, Mayor Emma Shoaff and the commission all praised the Sheriff's Office, and particularly district Chief Chris McKinstry, for the quality of the service. But the town of a little more than 5,000 residents can't come close to paying the increase, especially when the state Legislature has recently cut property taxes, leaders said.
    The town's total budget of more than $8 million could fall by about $1 million because of the new law, commissioners said.
    So Levy wants to look at hiring a private security company. He mentioned Navarro Security, headed by former Broward Sheriff Nick Navarro, but the town would likely have to seek proposals before awarding a contract.
    First, Levy wanted to see if commissioners were interested. They told him to explore all possibilities and report back. Any security firm would be responsible mainly for patrolling the streets and providing a presence, while the Sheriff's Office would be called in for serious crimes, Levy said.
    "I'm just trying to find another way to skin a cat," Levy said. "There is no way we can afford to pay $2.6 million, we all agree on that. There's a lot of things to work out, [like] whether it's even legal."
    Broward Sheriff's Office spokesman Elliot Cohen said his department charges communities the exact cost of providing service and nothing more.
    "This is not a profit-making venture for us. When we sign a contract, communities are getting dollar-for-dollar everything they ask for at cost," Cohen said.
    "Obviously, it's going to be much cheaper to contract with us than for towns to start their own police forces, just based on economy of scale."
    City commissioners instructed Levy to keep exploring options, although they specifically ruled out contacting Hollywood, the much-troubled agency that has seen five officers charged with corruption by the FBI in recent months.
    The only thing that is certain, commissioners said, is Pembroke Park can't afford the price increase.
    "If we pay what they want, we lose the town," Commissioner Georgina Cohen said. "I love BSO and all they do, but I'm not going to lose this town."

  2. #2
    k-9max's Avatar
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    i thought if a town was in the county, and they have no police coverage, the S.O., has to cover it.
    they do cover the Whole County after all.

    we have some small towns up here that are only part-time departments, including the chief.
    any calls they recieve when none of them are out, we handle, and then forward them the info so they can deal with it.

    i would almost say that with a price tag that high, they could start there own PD.
    just seems kinda high from this end.

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  3. #3
    BigDawg's Avatar
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    Florida is a bit different, and I could be off on my explanation. If I am exscuse me and I'm sure our Florida officers will explaine it to you.

    What I understand is.....if a town is incorporated then they must provide some sort of law enforcement (Security) type coverage. Weather that is there own Police Dept. or contract to the county. If they arent incorporated then they are just part of the county anyway and the Sheriff would be obliged to cover it. I know there is more to it than that, but that seems to be the easy answer as I know it.

    I dont know how they can contract out to security, unless then they work out a fee with the Sheriff for a per call assistance type thing.
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  4. #4
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    I work for a sheriff's department here in SW Florida. Unlike alot of other states, here in Florida, the sheriff of any given county is considered the chief law enforcement officer for the entire county, including any cities or towns that are incorporated. Incorporated towns either have their own agency or they pay the county/sheriff to provide the law enforcement services for them. Unincorporated areas are covered by the sheriff's office. I have not heard of any other town considering paying a contract security company to provide services for them before. This is new even to us already here. I would like to see how they pull that off, security are seriously limited on what they can do, and a town using them for law enforcement still cant give them any powers of arrest (at least how the law is written now). Personally, I think it is just a way to get the county and the sheriff to not charge them so much and to make as much publicity as they can. By our laws, they cannot even use emergency vehicles for patrol, the state just allowed department of corrections to use blue lights on their vehicles as of 07/01/07, let alone some security guards. I cant wait to see how this works out, especially in Broward County. That can be a rough place and is pretty close to Miami.

  5. #5
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    Our Sheriff is the same. Chief law enforcement for the county. If an incorporated city doesn't form their own PD, they contract with the SO. I believe the Sheriff is mandated by his oath of office to ensure the citizens have law enforcement, so a city couldn't side-step the sheriff with private security.

    Maybe the price went up so high, because the city has made a lot of demands for service?
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