Del Mar considers creating its own police force - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Del Mar considers creating its own police force

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DEL MAR (NEWS 8) – Del Mar, a town of 4,200 residents and 2.1 square-miles, will decide if it will divorce from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and create its own police department.

In Del Mar, the top call for police is a burglary alarm and many on Monday night questioned if spending money on a police department would be worth it.

Del Mar only has a one San Diego County Deputy on duty within the city limits – which spends 25-percent of calls backing up a deputy in a nearby town.

“The only time you see an officer is when he is traveling through town,” said Barry Entos, Del Mar Sheriff Subcommittee, and Finance Committee.

At Monday’s workshop, the Del Mar City Council hosted a question and answer talk about the feasibility study that shows it would cost $2.4 million to have 11 sworn officers.

“There is not reason why public safety is not paramount as there are to these other services,” said Entos.

According to the study, a police department would improve response times. Currently, a life-threatening call would be priority number one. Crimes in progress currently take up to nine minutes to respond – one minute slower than average, but of lower priority. Not-immediate calls take up to 20 longer to respond than normal.

“The response times are atrocious,” said Entos.

Del Mar contracts the county to provide service for $2.3 million a year.

While some residents scowled, others remain skeptical about getting rid of county sheriff.

“I am a little Skeptical. Del Mar by itself, the smallest city in the county can actually be as efficient as the sheriff department,” said one resident.

Monday’s workshop was the first of money to come that will allow the public to weigh in before any decision is made.

The mayor said he hopes the council will make a decision by the fall. The council could approve a police department or take a vote or put it on the ballot for voters to decide.

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