Fullerton might lose its police department

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(CNS) – The Fullerton City Council reportedly will consider today seeking a “preliminary analysis” that could eventually lead to asking the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for a bid to take over patrolling Fullerton’s streets from the troubled Fullerton Police Department.

The Sheriff’s Department analysis, if sought by the council at its meeting stating at 6:30 p.m., could be the first step toward a more detailed proposal by the sheriff to replace the city’s century-old department, according to the Orange County Register. Performed at no cost to taxpayers, the analysis would include a cost estimate after factoring in current staffing levels, crime statistics, calls for service and a community profile.

With the city’s population at just under 140,000, the Fullerton Police Department employs 144 sworn officers and 93 non-sworn workers and has an annual budget of about $37 million, Capt. Dan Hughes, the acting chief, told the register.

The department came under widespread attack after the death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill transient who died July 10, 2011, five days after he was involved in a physical altercation with police at the Fullerton Transportation Center. Two officers face criminal charges stemming from the incident and are among three of the six involved in the altercation who are no longer employed by the department.

Earlier this year, a divided Yorba Linda City Council voted to have the Sheriff’s Department take over that community’s police coverage next year, a job the Brea Police Department has held for more than 40 years.

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