Oroville may explore contracting public safety services

OROVILLE, Calif. - The Oroville City Council may decide to allow the city to explore contracting out its fire and police departments.  Council members will hear arguments Tuesday night at 6 p.m. during their public meeting. 

Bill LaGrone, Oroville's director of public safety, thinks the idea is worth considering.

"We have to make sure we're being good stewards of the people's money," said LaGrone. "We have to get the maximum amount for the dollars that [the taxpayers] are paying us."

Oroville's annual budget is $11.8 million.  Police and fire account for $6.9 million of that amount, mostly through salaries.

City Administrator Randy Murphy said an Oroville police sergeant has the potential to earn with overtime 120,000 dollars per year.  "I told the council when I interviewed for this job a year ago that I'd look into all options," said Murphy.

The union representing the Oroville police officers doesn't think much of the idea.

"You'd be looking at longer response times in some cases," said Jared Cooley, a detective with the Oroville Police Department.  "Not to mention the sheriff's department themselves are down a lot of positions [and are] currently hiring."

"And yet you'd be adding on to the City of Oroville which has arguably most of the calls for service out of all of the cities in the county." Cooley added.


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