A report authored by Arroyo Grande police officials stated that unifying the two police forces will provide better service for both cities and will likely save a collective $850,000 to $1.1 million.
“In addition to the financial benefit, this merger will increase the amount of officers on the street at any given time,” said Arroyo Grande Police Chief Steve Annibali. “We would have more dispatchers on duty at any one time and more detectives.”
Currently, there are 26 police officers in Arroyo Grande and 19 in Grover Beach. The consolidation plan calls for a leaner unified force of 38 officers, down from a present combined number of 45. According to Annibali, upcoming retirements would take care of most of the personnel reductions.
Arroyo Grande City Council members were enthusiastic about the idea, but insisted the next step should be a joint council meeting with Grover Beach. Though Grover Beach Police Chief Jim Copsey participated in the report, the city’s political leaders haven’t yet been consulted.
Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande, and Oceano unified their fire departments in July 2010.