Grover Beach rejects Arroyo Grande police merger

May 22, 2012

Grover Beach Police Chief Jim Copsey

By KAREN VELIE

Grover Beach City Council voted unanimously to reject an offer from Arroyo Grande to consolidate their police departments on Monday primarily because the proposal was akin to a bait and switch.

Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach city officials and staffers have been discussing for several decades melding their city’s police departments in an effort to save revenue. On May 8, the Arroyo Grande city council unanimously agreed to consolidate services and sent a proposal to Grover Beach.

The proposal included stipulations that Grover Beach police officers would be required to pass physical and psychological exams and undergo a back-ground check, while their brethren in Arroyo Grande would not have to undergo the same testing.

After reviewing the proposal, Grover Beach City Manager, Robert Perrault, recommended the council reject the proposal because he did not see the merger as a true consolidation, the city would lose control of its police services, and the financial benefits were uncertain.

Mayor John Shoals said the proposal did not appear to be the consolidation of services that had been recommended to the council at prior meetings.

“If it was a true consolidation, I would support it,” Shoals said. “I am not in support of contract services.”

City officials said they were also opposed to the proposal because it offered only minimal savings and could actually increase Grover Beach’s law enforcement costs during the first year.

“Once costs that are outside of the agreement, but related to the transfer and potential employee concessions are taken into account, the first year could actually cost the city of Grover Beach $115,000,” the staff report says.

Arroyo Grande Police Chief Steve Annibali said he was “very disappointed”  that Grover Beach rejected his city’s proposal while noting that the proposal was for consolidation not contract services.

“There is a complete misunderstand of the difference between contracting and consolidation,” Annibali said. “Someone has to be the host city or we would have to do a police authority, which is more expensive.”

As part of the Arroyo Grande proposal, Grover Beach Police Chief Jim Copsey’s position would have been eliminated and he would have been offered a buyout. Nevertheless, he worked with Annibali in attempting to promote a consolidation in an effort to increase law enforcement services while lowering costs.

“Our council is not interested as long as it is a contract proposal,” Copsey said. “This was not what was presented to our council. And I don’t have to retire.”

Copsey said that the city’s budget shortfalls could be partially met by not filling two vacant or soon to be vacant positions while continuing several cost cutting measures already in place. The Grover Beach Police Officers Association is in negotiations with the city to continue already imposed pay cuts.

“Right now we can control our costs,” Copsey said.


17 Comments

  1. smartmouth says:

    If the comportment of the police officers from the different cities is any indication . . . give me AG any day! Respectful, friendly and kind. The exact opposite can be found in Grover Beach.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  2. Bob says:

    I was hoping Grover Beach, would see through the BS and reject contracting under the false lie of merger. There was no long term, and very little short term benefit of contracting to Arroyo Grande. The Citizens of Grover Beach can sleep well tonight knowing that our very small but effective HOMETOWN police are on the job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  3. danika says:

    “After reviewing the proposal, Grover Beach City Manager, Robert Perrault, recommended the council reject the proposal because he did not see the merger as a true consolidation, the city would lose control of its police services, and the financial benefits were uncertain.”

    No mention of safety issues for its citizens.

    Just control issues and uncertain financial benefits.

    That pretty much sums it up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

    • Bob says:

      Gee, since when does accountability get dismissed as control issues.

      Absolutely, there was no proof of any realistic financial benefit or long term cost savings.

      The only guarantee of contracting is uncertain financial liabilities.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  4. LAPD says:

    I’m not going to get into a drawn out dialogue with “changes,” but you are clearly missing my point. The article by Velie said that AGPD officers would not have to undergo the same testing as those in GBPD. My point, that you missed for whatever reason, is that AGPD officers have already completed the testing that would have been required of GBPD officers. Even the language in the proposal you quoted says the same thing: All staff hired would have to pass a physical exam, psychological exam and a background investigation as required for any new hire employee. The phrase “new hire employee” includes anyone hired by AGPD.

    Velie seems to suggest, for whatever reason, that AGPD officer have not undergone the same testing that GBPD officers would have to undergo. Wrong. They did to get hired in the first place, and they continue to have that requirement under current hiring practices. Whether or not GBPD officers should have to undergo the same testing is an entirely different matter for another discussion, but not relevant to my initial and current comments.

    I’ll add one more comment on Copsey’s statements re: meeting GB’s budget shortfall by not filling two vacant or soon to be vacant positions or other cost cutting measures. Let me pose a hypothetical question: If GBPD staffing sinks to a level that is at best minimal, at worse unable to safely respond to calls for service from the GB community or even GBPD officers, who do you think will be asked under standing mutual aid agreements to step into the void? AGPD, PBPD and the SO. Not only is that a mutual aid agreement but it is also an ethical decision that both PDs and the SO, their command staffs and individual officers will make to assist GBPD and the community. That is what AGPD, PBPD and the SO officers and deputies will do and I respect, understand and expect that. An officer or deputy from another jurisdiction cannot and should not allow the safety of the community or other officers to be compromised or jeopardized. I don’t think anyone would want that. I would ask the question whether GBPD has reached that level of service. That is a question the citizens of GB and the surrounding areas have to answer for themselves.

    So here’s the bottom line. GB continues to short staff its PD and “balance” its budget shortfalls by relying upon the resources of AGPD, PBPD and the SO, the dedication of the officers and deputies of those agencies and the citizens of AG, PB and the County who fund those agencies with their tax dollars. If you are a citizen of GB or one of their decision makers, I guess that makes perfect sense in a world of new or creative financing, but not to me. But is it fair or equitable? Nope.

    I’m done, unless I become highly annoyed by errors, misstatements or lies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 15

    • pismo20 says:

      It is absolutely relevant that the officers from both departments have both been tested but if the departments are combined only Grover Beach officers have to be retested. It says contract rather than consolidation.

      Also, Grover Beach is one officer short and will be two in the future, one of the highest staffing in the county for law enforcement during the current budget crisis. If any department has had to call in help it is Arroyo Grande for the cross burning and racist crimes. Grover Beach is better off and I think in the future will do better keeping their own force. Think about the lawsuits against Arroyo Grande. If they combine it should be with Chief Copsey as the head of the combined departments and with the government of Grover Beach having control.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

      • changes says:

        Well said Pismo20. Grover Beach has done and will continue to do an excellent job minus a few officers. And like every law enforcement agency here on the Central Coast, if GBPD needs assistance then mutual aid is rendered when needed.

        LAPD might want to read all articles pertaining to the city of Arroyo Grande, Annibali, and the AGPD than maybe his annoyance in lies, misstatements and
        errors will become relevant. Chief Copsey and his officers are not making front page news with lawsuits, errors, lies, and misstatements. Nor do you see Copsey or their city council trying to sell their citizens a proposition to build a new PD in these hard economic times.
        errors might become relevant.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

        • Bob says:

          What LAPD does not know is that is is not the big city and is a whole different world up here.

          Big, big, big police departments like LAPD & LA Sheriff have a whole lot less accountability and statistically extremely higher and far more frequent misconduct settlements.

          The bigger the agency, the less accountability.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

          • Downtown Bob says:

            Seems to me that the deal was very one sided towards AG and against GC. LAPD, you are correct, that AG officers in theory have already gone through all the hoops to be hired by AG, but the same has occurred in GC in their process. Presuming that both departments have followed POST recommendations, it does seem pretty unfair to those GC officers to have to go through the uncertainty and stress of all of those tests again. You know as well as I do that many things are very subjective in those processes. Each of those officers has a personnel file just like the officers in AG do. Perhaps they would have needed to purge some AG officer and kept some GC officers, but there was not process for that was there?

            They should have merged accepting officers from both departments with their good and bad included.

            I think a much better solution for GC is to contract with the Sheriff and work a deal to have him hire those officers who would like to work at the SO to help the SO transition completely into GC, although many deputies already are very familiar with GC on a daily basis.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  5. changes says:

    It is good to see that GBPD police department and the city council are standing up against Annibali and his “takeover” proposal. I’m am tired of hearing AG citizens describe Grover Beach PD, its officers,the citizens and city council as an inferior step-child to AG. I ask the question of “Who died and made AG the king of all surrounding 5 cities?”
    Keep strong GBPD and the council. Your citizens support all that you do for our community and know you are doing the best for us in these hard economic times.
    As for LAPD’ s comment of misquote…Maybe you need to reread Karen’s article as well as the official proposal….Only GBPD officers will be required re-testing not AGPD. Its Annibali’s way of eliminating officers he doesn’t want. Under Annibalis leadership of AGPD (dictatorship) 23 employees have either been fired, forced retired, laid off or left.
    Not a good record. Oh and and three major lawsuits pending against him. And he wants the taxpayers to give him money to build a new station???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  6. LAPD says:

    Paragraph 3 of the article is completely untrue. AGPD officers have already been through the physical, psychological and background testing that would be required of GBPD officers. It is absolutely untrue that AGPD officers “…would not have to undergo the same testing.” Not a minor point that inserts considerable bias or prejudice in this “reporting.” Once again, “just the facts,” but get them right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 18

    • pismo20 says:

      Both officers at Grover Beach and at Arroyo Grande were given back ground checks and testing when hired at their agencies. However, if they agree to consolidate under the Arroyo Grande proposal (available on the Grover Beach website) the only officers required to do more testing would be the Grover Beach officers. If it was a true consolidation wouldn’t the officers from both departments have the same requirements?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

      • willieslo says:

        The tests are standard!
        BUT, DEFINITELY FOR SURE
        The quality of people in the Central Coast in LE are FAR better than in L.A. FOR DAMN SURE!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

        • Crusader says:

          That’s laughable. I can just imagine members of the SLOPD trying to police South Los Angeles in their kartoon kars and they cutey motorcycles. They’d soil themselves 15 minutes into a tour. They have to take the day off to shower and change. Heck, I don’t think they could even handle Culver City.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

    • changes says:

      Here you go LAPD page 7, second paragraph, thrid bullet:

      “All staff hired would be required to pass a physical exam, psychological exam and a
      background investigation as required for any new hire employee.”

      Thank you GB city council for putting the proposal on your website.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    • ApathyWillKillYou says:

      I thought you were DONE.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  7. abigchocoholic says:

    sounds like AG is trying to take advantage of a broke Grover Beach.

    Humans are so predatory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

Comments are closed.