Officials discuss law enforcement contract

inyo_county_jail1.jpgWith ongoing concerns about budget shortfalls, the Bishop City Council has examined the City budget in a series of workshops. At one point, officials decided to at least look at the possibility of a law enforcement contract with the Inyo Sheriff. Sheriff Bill Lutze said an initial meeting did take place, and now he has two members of his staff working on very preliminary cost estimates.

That initial meeting included Sheriff Lutze, Bishop Police Chief Chris Carter, County Administrator Kevin Carunchio and City Administrator Keith Caldwell. They talked about what the City needs in services. Chief Carter had earlier said that the City Council made it clear to him that they would ask the County to provide the exact same level of service that the Police Department currently provides.

Sheriff Lutze said he told City officials that he would do a “real rough cost estimate to see if we want to go forward. If they do,” he said, “I will bring in a team from bpdanother County to perform detailed costs.” Lutze said the rough figures are for both the City and the County to see if the money makes sense. For now, the Sheriff continues to meet with his staff as they pull figures together.

Asked in November about his thoughts on a County contract, Police Chief Carter said he did not blame the City Council for looking into it “because they do have a financial responsibility to look at any and all areas to save money.” The Chief did say that going with the County would mean loss of control by the Council Council over law enforcement.

Currently the Bishop Police Department employs twelve officers, including the Chief.

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23 Responses to Officials discuss law enforcement contract

  1. Joker January 8, 2014 at 10:43 am #


    Good points but it’s kind of creepy. You probably know what I ate for breakfast too. I like hometown protection but I don’t need a big brother either.

  2. Dan January 7, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    There is no way you will have the same service that you have with the local Police Department if you contract with the Sheriff’s Dept. I grew up in Bishop, work in Bishop, and live in the City Limits. I am raising my children here as I was raised. I coach at the High School, in short I Police the community that I am wholeheartidly a part of. I am proud of this fact and take great personal pride in my work in the City. I am protecting and serving my family, my enlaws, my kids, and their families. We can respond anywhere within the City in a few minutes normally. Half of our employees grew up here and also have a huge interest.

    I have worked for a Sheriff’s Department in the past. I know from experience that Deputies do not have the vested interest, pride, or connection with a certain City. This is not because they are less of Officers, they are just different. The Sheriff’s Department culture is one of beat assignements. Any night that they go into service they can be responsible for a different beat within the County, so they dont know the specifics and connection of one small city, in my case 2.2 square miles.

    I know when a car is out of place, I know who lives in different areas of the City, I know the routines of shop and business owners, we know who’s home, and whos house is vacant because they are out of the area.

    I know who belongs at the High School and who doesnt. I try and mentor some of the kids I coach on the grid iron, they see me as a coach, and as a Police Officer, because often times I have to go to practice in my uniform. With this small town Police Department culture comes a connection.

    Bishop Police Officers pride themselves on the quality of service they give the people and residents of Bishop. Most of us our from Bishop and live in Bishop raising our families much like we were raised here. We came back to raise our families because of the quaility of life here and with the high expectation of quality of life comes high quality of service from a small vested Police Department.

  3. Johnny January 7, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    Not a bad idea to investigate. I’ve heard that we have the greatest number of law enforcement per capita in the state in our area. Even the Game Wardens respond to calls on occasion, that reminds me, did Sierra Wave ever find out how much the Game Warden checkpoints cost last fall with all of the extra officers standing around south of Bishop?

    • Benett Kessler January 7, 2014 at 8:49 am #

      We posted it in a story. Go to our site and search for Fish and Wildlife.

  4. DustDevil January 7, 2014 at 2:12 am #

    Talking out your rear end Able Body, are you an insider or possibly a Bishop PD employee? How do you know the effectiveness of INET, an agency that does things undercover? Interesting. How do you know the effectiveness of the DA’s office? An agency that’s held to a high standard of confidentiality. Interesting.

    • PC January 7, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

      Dust Devil is there something more to this possibility that should be shared? Why would a BPD employee make such a statement? Curious…..I’m concerned this issue might be keeping you awake at night? Just considering the time in which you posted…

  5. Trouble January 6, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    I vote for whoever hands out the least amount of tickets. CHP you lose.

  6. chris January 6, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    What does California POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) have to say about this proposal. Maybe it’s too early for their input, but they will be involved as the process continues. A good question to put forth, Bennett?

  7. Roy January 6, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    Having worked for the LA County Sheriff’s Dept for 30 years I can guarantee you the contract city gets far more service than what they pay for in their contract. I worked a station in a contract city that had a huge county unincorporated area around the city. Every shift 6-8 patrol cars had to drive thru the contract city to get to their assigned patrol area. That was free police service the contract city was not paying for…The contract city only contracted for 1 patrol car for each shift and when a hot call took place in the city,,, county cars had to come into the city to assist leaving their patrol areas not covered…I can’t count the times the city car would be tied up all shift on a call and a county car would have to cover the city which was not paid by the contract city. Darn near every contract city in LA County is pleased with the service
    they get as they get far more than what they are paying for…

    • PC January 7, 2014 at 9:29 am #

      Roy you are absolutely correct. Contracted cities in the LA area did benefit from contracting with LA CO Sheriff not only for deployment of personnel, but because the Sheriff could offer special services that cities could not afford to fund; SWAT, forensics, narcotics teams etc. Again win win for those LA County Cities, not so much for the City of Bishop. As it stands now the Police and Sheriff’s Department, with the exception of a Search and Rescue team are apples to apples in special services. As far as personnel and deployment…read and listen to the local news, the Sheriff has difficulty covering his own jurisdiction.

      • Desert Tortoise January 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

        Before you two break your arms patting yourselves on your back, read this study:

        Tehachapi terminated their contract with KCSD and re-establshed their own police force to save money, which they indeed did. Similiarly Bear Valley has suspended plans to replace it’s police department with KCSD because there was no cost savings.

        Also worth considering is that if there is a crime involving a political supporter of the county supes, the Sheriff won’t go out of their way to investigate. A few years ago Benz Sanitation bent the city of Ridgecrest over the barrel by taking trash picked up in LA County where the county charges $38 a ton to dump trash at the landfill and dumped it in the Tehachapi landfill, claiming the trash came from Ridgecrest, Tehachapi, Cal City and Arvin, all of which have the landfill fee taken out of resident’s property taxes rather than charging the trash truck as is done in LA County. Then to add insult to injury, Benz reported Ridgecrest to the California Integrated Waste Management Board for not diverting enough trash into recycling. The spike in Ridgecrest’s reported trash was LA County trash falsy reported as coming from Ridgecrest! Of course Benz got the recycling contract and jacked their rates up accordingly.

        Eventually Ridgecrest booted Benz and hired Waste Management, who noted that the amount of trash they picked up in Ridgecrest was not anywhere near as much as Benz had been reporting. To make a long story short, Benz had been paying the Supes for the 1st and 2nd districts to look the other way and the County Sheriff didn’t lift a finger to investigate. RPD had to do the leg work of following Benz trash trucks from LA County up to Tehachapi and reporting the trash as coming from Kern County. On the strength of RPD’s evidence Paul Benz Sr. plead guilty and is now a felon prohibited by the court from running his own company, but if there had been no RPD to break the case, the Sheriff would not have lifted a finger.

        Don’t be so quick to rush to the arms of a county agency that might have agendas other than what is best for your city, and might even cost you more down the road.

        • Benett Kessler January 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

          Where is your evidence that the two county supervisors were bribed?
          Benett Kessler

          • Desert Tortoise January 8, 2014 at 8:31 am #

            There was an article the day after the November election in the Indian Wells Valley News Review by one of their best reporters who detailed the entire history of what Benz did to Ridgecrest. The article noted that Paul Benz had made “donations” of many thousands of dollars to the re-election campaigns of each of the two County Supes involved, and to Jon McQuiston’s campaign for the state legislature (he didn’t get past the primary). Neither did a thing to help the communities they represented while the state threatened Ridgecrest with fines for failure to comply with AB939 requirements. It is, however, very difficult to show there was a direct quid pro quo to the degree one can obtain a conviction in a court of law and the Kern County DA isn’t going to prosecute a couple of county supes who are political allies.

            When Waste Management, who knows how the game is played and works the Antelope Valley alongside Benz, (you can imagine WM drivers telling their management that Benz trucks are taking Antelope Valley trash north to Kern County, you can’t hide that stuff from the drivers, they know all the games) notified the city that Benz was gaming them the Sheriff didn’t lift a finger to investigate. That fell to RPD. If Ridgecrest didn’t have it’s own PD, Benz would not have been caught and Ridgecrest would not have recovered the money it did from Benz, it is that simple.

          • Desert Tortoise January 8, 2014 at 8:39 am #

            Oh, almost forgot an important detail. The article detailed how the person running Kern County’s landfills noticed the spike in tonnage being delivered into the Tehachapi landfill and decided to run an audit. The Kern County BoS directly interfered in the audit, shut it down and then re-wrote the rules so no future audits could occur. When the person finally retired in disgust, the BoS replaced this person with a former Benz employee.

            Kern County is slimy in the extreme, but don’t count on the Inyo or Mono County Boards of Supes being inherently more honest. A municipal police force independent of the sheriff is worth it.

            Here is the article from the New Review. This is an example of outstanding investigative journalism.


        • PC January 7, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

          Desert Tortoise: Hi, remember me? From your younger years – I’m reality. I realize it’s been a while, but I’d like to rekindle our relationship…

          Did you not read my post? You seem to be against me, but you just affirmed each point I made – Thank you…?

  8. Inyo January 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    Let’s face it, the BPD is on a whole different level then the Sherifs Dept. The sheriffs department can barely man what they have now, let alone take over the city and all the business. At what point do you choose saving money over the safety of the city. The county is always asking for the BPD and The Highway Patrol for assistance, how in the world are they going to cover the City and the people driving through. Kinda scary if you ask me

    • Benett Kessler January 6, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

      I will point out that if a city contracts with a county, the city pays the county to hire enough officers to provide the desired level of service.
      Benett Kessler

    • Mark January 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

      Sheriff Bill and his deputies would do a excellent job.

      As does the Police chief and officers on the Bishop P.D.

    • Wayne Deja January 6, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

      ….speaking from my little town,what I see ,find out,and know of ,the Inyo County Sheriffs Dept. is doing a great job….

  9. able body January 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    Be careful what you ask for. You get what you pay for. Inyo county cannot do the same level of service the BPD provides. Just look at INET and how ineffective they are. The same goes for the DA office. Yes. You get what you pay for.

  10. Desert Tortoise January 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    The city of Bishop needs to be very wary of any contract with the county. Based on the experiences of communities in LA and Kern Counties that have eliminated their local police departments in favor of contracting to their respective counties for polce services, the price might be right for the first contract or two, but after that they will find the county charging them more than their former police force was costing them.

  11. Badfinger January 6, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    These Big Fat Public Employee Salaries And Pension Funds are Killing our Economy, govt. really needs to bring these public salaries and pensions in line with private sector earnings ASAP because this rediculious UNSUSTANIBILITY Is just about reached Its Limits 🙂

    • Bob Loblaw January 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      What private sector police are you comparing the public sector police salary to?


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