It was a year ago that police officers beat a homeless man to death on the streets of Fullerton. Now, still reeling from that controversy, the city is looking at fundamentally changing how the city is policed, even disbanding its department entirely.
The 144-officer force costs the city $37 million per year. As the city looks forward to 2014, when its current contract with the Police Union expires, city officials are looking at possible options to reduce costs . One proposal calls for commissioning a study to analyze cost savings that could be realized by contracting out police services to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Another idea being floated would combine policing services with neighboring cities.
Since the death of Kelly Thomas, the police department has been under fire. The chief has left, three officers quit while facing termination hearings, and two officers are standing trial. Three of the five city council members supported the department and were recalled. Their replacements have been pushing an agenda that involves reforming the department, and may now even include disbandment.
From the Los Angeles Times:
A year after a mentally ill homeless man was beaten by police officers and later died, Fullerton leaders are expected to launch a study that could set the wheels in motion to disband the city’s 104-year-old Police Department.
The City Council is slated Tuesday to decide whether to order a preliminary analysis on letting the Orange County Sheriff’s Department patrol the city, one of the oldest in the county.
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