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Public Safety Consolidation: What Is It? How Does It Work?

NCJ Number
Be on the Lookout (BOLO) Issue: 2 Dated: 07/2012
Jeremy M. Wilson; Alexander Weiss; Clifford Grammich
Date Published
August 2012
12 pages
This edition of "Be on the Lookout" (BOLO) discusses the use of public safety consolidation by fire and police agencies.
As a result of budget constraints, many local and State governments have begun to consolidate police and fire services into single, public service agencies. To date, no research has been done on the success or failure of these operations. This article in the August 2012 edition of "Be on the Lookout" (BOLO) discusses the results of preliminary research to develop evidence-based methods for examining the success or failure of public safety consolidations. The article begins with a discussion of the increasing challenges of providing public safety services. This is followed by a discussion on the benefits of various public safety models. Some of these benefits include increased efficiency in the provision of public safety services, helping communities meet evolving needs, reduce duplication of services, promotion of community policing, and increase comprehensive community safety and homeland security. The costs of consolidation are also discussed and include increased costs for training and backfilling of staff, obstacles such as current labor contracts and lack of physical structures, and increased management problems resulting from reorganization of existing staffs. Discussion of existing public safety consolidations in Sunnyvale, CA, Highland Park, TX, and East Grand Rapids, MI, are also included in the article. Public safety consolidation issues in need of future research are discussed. Tables, figures, and references