The Morro Bay Police Department, Fire Department and Harbor Patrol got an overwhelming vote of confidence from the public, city staff and the City Council Tuesday night.
The City Council hosted a public hearing on the possibility of disbanding the Morro Bay Police Department and contracting out law enforcement services to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department.
Its among dozens of suggestions and recommendations from a consultant the City of Morro Bay hired to review various ways to cuts costs, raise revenues and improve city services.
They packed the Morro Bay Veterans Memorial Hall for the Tuesday night City Council meeting and public hearing on the future of the Morro Bay Police Department.
“Respond to the will of the people”, said Morro Bay Police Officer Greg Gruich who is also head of the Morro Bay Police Officers Association, “to our citizens with whom we work, we protect you, we work for you, we believe in you and we save you, I’m asking you now to protect us, believe in us and save us, thank you.”
Another local resident who spoke during the public hearing presented the City Council with stacks of paper that make up a local petition signed by more than 2,000 people in support of maintaining the city police department.
In fact, everyone who who spoke at the hearing voiced support for the Morro Bay Police Department as well as the City Fire Department and City Harbor Patrol, some calling them the finest agencies of their size on the West Coast.
“I have to wonder why this was even on the agenda”, another local resident asked the City Council.
Even Morro Bay city staff recommended the City Council not consider further studies of outsourcing police or public safety, saying at best it would save the city about $500,000 a year, until at least 2025 or if the city’s financial situation requires further review.
“I do not support outsourcing, either the Police Department, the Morro Bay Fire Department and or the Harbor Patrol, said Morro Bay City Councilman John Headding, “after reading the staff report and speaking to a significant number of you in the community.”
The public hearing and public show of support comes as the City of Morro Bay is recruiting a new police chief and commander to run the small police department of 18 sworn officers.