The proposal, which the city released Friday afternoon, estimates it would cost $53.1 million to police the city, a figure that doesn't include an estimated $7.9 million for such costs as overtime, fuel and a pension obligation bond. The sheriff's department also would not provide animal control, code enforcement and some other services that are included in the Police Department's budget.
As recently as August, San Bernardino police had a $62 million budget, but cutbacks and departing officers have left a budget of about $54 million, according to Police Chief Robert Handy.
Handy is scheduled to give a formal response to the City Council Jan. 22, after receiving the 14-page report far ahead of the six-to-12 month time frame the council was given when they asked for the cost estimate in November, said Mayor Pat Morris.
"I think it's critically important that we thank the sheriff and his team that prepared this proposal," Morris said. "They did it with a quick turnaround time, and our city really appreciates that collegial cooperation. ... I think everything needs to be analyzed with a really deep drill-down. We owe this to our taxpayers."
Morris has consistently said officials needed to look for the highest-quality service for the lowest possible cost in all departments, a position some took as advocating outsourcing but he said is not.
"Our obligation is to our taxpayers," he said. "If (the sheriff's report and Handy's response) come back with a generally level cost, we'll obviously opt for our Police Department, which I have great faith in."
City Attorney James F. Penman, who initiated conversations with then-Sheriff Rod Hoops about the potential of contracting out policing services, said the report confirms his earlier expectation that no one else could effectively police San Bernardino for less.
"I said that to a number of people at the time, that the amount of money that it was going to police the city was going to be millions of dollars more than it is for our police," Penman said. "I was not in favor of it then, I'm not in favor of it now. ... but as I said, we've been told by our bankruptcy attorney that we need to show we've done everything possible to cut costs and save money."
The city did not pay any money to request the report.
Penman also said additional payments to the California Public Employee Retirement System would exceed $100 million if the city went forward with the plan, a number that is not included in the report but he said had been given to the City Council in closed session.
"What the ultimate source of that was, I don't know, but it was provided very definitively to the mayor and council," he said.
The sheriff proposes policing the city with 251 sworn personnel, compared to what at the time of the report was 270 sworn personnel in the San Bernardino Police Department. Handy said there were 264 sworn officers Friday, which he said would drop to 260 within the next two or three weeks because of planned retirements and resignations.
That comes mostly from eliminating higher-ranking positions. The SBPD has a chief, an assistant chief, three captains and nine lieutenants, administrative ranks the sheriff would thin to one captain and three lieutenants.
"Increased efficiencies in the Sheriff's Department's other established support services keep the overall costs down for contract cities due to economies of scale...," the report says. "This cost savings, combined with efficient and effective policing, enhance the value of every dollar cities spend on public safety."
Handy attributed the higher efficiency of his department to investments made in earlier years, although he said he would save his in-depth analysis for later.
"I do think that the proposal illustrates that we are doing a pretty effective job for what we have," Handy said. "Yes, I could do more with more, but I think we do it pretty effectively and pretty efficiently."
More details to come.