Most talk of consolidating municipal services involves apples and apples, where one city looks to work with another city to provide police services. But, in Sunnyvale, the city successfully operates with a consolidated Public Safety Department, where police and fire share responsibilities.
The system isn’t new in Sunnyvale. It was originally implemented when the city had barely 10 percent the population it has today. But even after the City abandoned its volunteer fire department, they continued working with a shared model, where most public safety employees are offered the opportunity to switch between the police duties and fire duties each year. Even when police are on patrol, their cars have their turnout gear in the trunk, along with first-responder EMT equipment.
Last year, seven people in Sunnyvale received lifesaving treatment from police-issued defibrillators.
The City benefits in other ways, as well. Sunnyvale spends just $519 per capita for public safety, as opposed to neighboring Palo Alto that spends $950 per capita.
Other communities are showing interest in the Sunnyvale model, and have contacted the city for information.
Read the full article at the Los Angeles Times.