Morro Bay may disband its police department

July 20, 2016

Morro Bay Police Department

The city of Morro Bay is considering disbanding its police department and contracting out law enforcement duties to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. City council members will discuss the possibility at an Aug. 9 meeting, according to a public memorandum circulated by City Manager David Buckingham.

David Buckingham

David Buckingham

Buckingham’s memorandum cites a suggestion made by a consulting firm as reason for the city to consider contracting out its police services. The memorandum does not state the city is hoping to cut costs, but it is widely believed that saving money would be the primary motive for disbanding the police department.

Last year, Morro Bay officials commissioned a study of the city’s organization, management process and fiscal situation. Consulting firm Management Partners completed the study in May 2015 and delivered 65 recommendations to the city. One of Management Partners’ recommendations was to obtain a proposal from the county sheriff’s office for providing law enforcement services to the city.

In November, the council decided to wait until 2017 to formally consider contracting out its police duties. However, Morro Bay’s police commander recently left the department, and Chief Amy Christie is expected to take over as Pacific Grove’s top cop on Aug. 16.

Following the announced departures, the city council opted to expedite a discussion on contracting out law enforcement services. At its Aug. 9 meeting, the council is expected to decide whether the city should make preparations for requesting a proposal from the sheriff’s office. City officials have already initiated talks with the sheriff’s office, according to Buckingham’s memorandum.

In the case Morro Bay proceeds with contracting out law enforcement duties, the city has set parameters for proposals it will consider. City officials say there must be no reduction in response time or in the number of sworn patrol officers on shift.

The parameters also state the sheriff’s office would have to maintain a Morro Bay force that would be based at the city’s current police station. That unit would also have to look and feel, as much as possible, like the existing police department. The deputies would have to drive Morro Bay police vehicles and have other Morro Bay insignia.

Additionally, the contract must include a set term and an opt-out provision that would allow the city to restore its police department, according to the parameters.

City officials will take input from the public before and during the Aug. 9 council meeting. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at the Morro Bay veterans’ hall.


Can anyone name one decision that this city council has made that has actually saved the taxpayers money? Wastewater treament plant….no, relacing the city manager…no, replacing the city attorney…, contracting out the police dispatcher…no. The list goes on and on.


Morro Bay only incorporated in 1964 to keep the PG&E plant taxes from going to the county. When I first met our new police chief I cautioned her that without the power plant tax revenue the city’s ability to pay future pensions would in jeopardy. I was told ten years ago that the MBPD had 14 cars, plus the Pontiac Firebird for their D.A.R.E. program, yet only had two cars on duty at one time. The next step is to unincorporated.

Jorge Estrada

Yes that is a good example to cite but don’t forget Morro Bay in 1964, a small fishing port, weekend cabins/houses, foggy, cold and $15,000 dollars went a long way to buy a house.

Just compare population and businesses from then to now and I rest my case.

Jorge Estrada

Why is it that growth and greater revenue can results in government failure? My first guess would be that they decide what to pay themselves.


Well, here we go……. Is anyone out there surprised by this?



Next up on the hit list for the manager and Council: the Morro Bay Fire Department. Then, after most of the rest of the organization has been disassembled, the city manager will leave, and the Council will pursue disincorporation.

And the residents will be left with the mess.


This should not be surprising. Irons and friends have really put Morro Bay in this position on purpose, this is not accidental. Failure breeds more failure. The LOCSD, Mike Wright and Marshall Ochinski are doing the same in Los Osos. We must get involved, stop these destructive acts, NOW. The elections are coming fast, here in Los Osos, we can change direction. Eliminate the LOCSD, stop the failures, save millions of dollars, yet to be wasted by Wright and Ochinski.

Today I started the process with the county clerk, I’m running for the sole purpose of keeping our monies at home. Gibson, a few days ago, personally destroyed any opportunity to lower the interest rates on the sewer project loans. Saving Los Osos $10,000,000.00 over the length of the loan reimbursement. The letter is public knowledge. Has Wright or Ochinski said anything about this? Have they written even a letter to the editor? They hold the citizens in Los Osos in contempt, you’re there just to accomadate Gibson, were we already have no representation from them. Eliminate the waste and fraud that has been the LOCSD for 18 years.

We don’t need to hold hands with Morro Bay, Irons and company, are failures…..


The casualty list is growing daily:

Ability to reside at your place of business.

Fireworks show.

Hunting in the estuary.

The former city manager

Power plant

Commercial fishing

Residential development

Police department

Former city employees

Drinking water suppl

Need I continue?????


OK. The power plant if not operating anymore due to the efforts of a group of citizens who lobbied hard for it’s closure. The current city council is incapable of building a wastewater treatment plant, paving the streets and, now, maintaining a local police department. There is also talk of getting rid of the Morro Bay Fire Department and replacing it with Cal Fire. Someone explain to me how, and why, the City of Morro Bay should continue to exist as an incorporated city. Also, if you want to see something really scary, google the person who the city hired to be the interim police chief in the absence of Amy Christie. His name is Larry Todd.


Just what has Buckingham done except collect a fat paycheck for doing nothing but firing long term employees & hire himself gophers? Morro Bay is a perfect example of everything wrong with government, pissing away money we don’t have, crying about being broke, hiring consultants instead of doing any work themselves. They also confer with consultants to tell the public their pay is below standard to validate giving themselves raises. Buckingham has done zero to earn his inflated salary and our council refuses to admit he is not qualified to run a hot dog stand. Maybe we should cut out the middleman, fire the entire council and hire a consulting firm to run the city.


If you are a sheriff deputy why do you want people to think you are a police officer?Police and sheriffs operate in different parameters also. Sheriff deputies have more jurisdiction than the police have.

It sounds like they want to disband the police dept yet have the residents think the police dept is the same. Stay in the building the police were in, same response times, drive cars that say MB police, what about the uniforms do they get to wear their sheriff uniforms or do they want to change that too.

Cover our butts for a while and when we are ready to turn everything back over to us, that is what I am hearing. So will MB really save that much money? They have to keep up the buildings, pay the sheriff deputies, maintain the fleet of cars, ect. Don’t know if MB has it own dispatchers or if that too will be done by the sheriffs dept.

Something seems fishy.

Kevin Rice

I doubt sheriff’s deputies can legally operate with “police” insignia. I suspect this “parameter” won’t fly.


Keep everything the same…just get rid of the personnel…another typical Irons inspired move in hopes of destroying a once beautiful seaside community.

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