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City Council Resolution will Explore Consolidating Public Safety Services in Albuquerque/Bernalillo County

R-16-142 calls for a study to determine feasability

 The Albuquerque City Council will consider a resolution at the March 20, 2017 City Council meeting that calls for a study to determine the feasibility of consolidating fire and police services in the City of Albuquerque and unincorporated Bernalillo County. The resolution, R-16-142, is sponsored by Councilors Dan Lewis, Isaac Benton, and Ken Sanchez.

Councilor Lewis said that public safety is local government’s most important task, but also its most challenging, and represents a substantial share of the budgets of both the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. “Ninety-six percent of Bernalillo County residents live in the urban area,” he said. “There is considerable overlap between BCFD, AFD, the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s Office, and APD. These four agencies have so much in common that it very possibly makes sense to consolidate them into a regional public safety agency.”

“We regularly hear from constituents with questions about how public safety services can be improved,” said Council President Isaac Benton, “It’s time to consider this promising option.”

“Public Safety is the most important issue that we as a city deal with each and every day. The residents of Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque do not care what color of police car or fire truck  shows up to help them, just that they are receiving the best and most timely service and care possible,” said Councilor Ken Sanchez, “Improving public safety should be the utmost priority for the city and county residents.”

There is a history of communities improving public safety by consolidating services, from the consolidation of the City of Las Vegas, Nev., and Clark County Public Safety Agencies in 1954 to the merger of the Charlotte, N.C., Police Department and Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office in 1993. This approach has been proven to provide more efficient delivery of police services, lower response times, reduced overtime expenses, lower overall operating costs, and it eliminates duplication of effort by multiple agencies. Consolidation allows first responders better access to resources, more training opportunities, greater flexibility in staffing, the ability to afford specialized equipment and the ability to establish expert units.