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Posted on: April 1, 2019

Study Finds Lake Forest Police Costs Among Lowest in OC

Lake Forest residents pay less per capita for police services than nearly every other city in Orange County, a just-released study has determined. The consultant’s report, commissioned by Lake Forest and 12 other cities that contract with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement services, also found some areas offering potential savings for cities.

The cities commissioned the study in response to rising OCSD contract costs. The Lake Forest sheriff’s contract increased from $14.4 million in 2016 to $16.1 million in 2018 – well above the average of 6 percent annual average among the contract cities.

The study, by Mountain View-based Matrix Consulting Group, found two areas in the contracts that could lead to savings. The County bills cities for deputies at the top of the salary range for Deputy II’s, although some may not be at that level. That practice has further cost implications because additional charges for other items in the contract are based on the salaries costs, the report notes. Additionally, cities could save money by contracting for vehicle maintenance, instead of relying on the County’s Public Works Department.

The clearest message in the report, however, was the value Lake Forest residents receive though the contract with OCSD. The average cost per capita for the 13 cities included in the study was approximately $215 per person, while the average per capita cost for cities with their own police agencies was approximately $395 per person.  Lake Forest’s per capita cost was $208.77 – with only Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods, Rancho Santa Margarita and Yorba Linda coming in less than that.

The report will be presented to the Lake Forest City Council at a future meeting.

Click here for the full study

Click here for Sheriff Don Barnes' response

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