Rancho Cordova will continue to contract with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department for law enforcement services for at least three more years while continuing to evaluate other options for police services.
The City Council decided Monday night to extend its agreement for services with the Sheriff's Department until June 30, 2016.
Sheriff Scott Jones earlier this year initiated discussions about the future relationship with the city, saying he needed to plan for the Sheriff's Department's long-term staffing. Jones said he anticipates between 100 and 150 deputies and sergeants will retire by early summer 2014.
If Rancho Cordova were to end its contract, Jones said, deputies and other employees assigned to the city's Police Department would have to be reassigned. The anticipated retirements, he said, offer a window or opportunity to absorb personnel assigned to Rancho Cordova back into the Sheriff's Department without layoffs of a reduction in services.
Jones initially requested an extension of either 12 months or five years, but he said last month that he would consider a three-year extension with no "out" clause. The pact has allowed either party to end the contract with 18 months notice.
The amendment to the agreement approved by the council Monday states that "the parties may not terminate this agreement without cause." It also specifies that no later than 18 months before the expiration of the agreement, the city will notify the county whether it intends to continue the contract with the Sheriff's Department or pursue an alternative method of providing law enforcement services.
"I felt like we were really under the gun with this decision ... I appreciate the extended time line," Councilman Donald Terry said during Monday's meeting.
Rancho Cordova has contracted with the Sheriff's Department for policing services since incorporating in July 2003.
City officials have said they are happy with the Sheriff's Department's services. Their only concern is rising costs.
With the current contract due to expire June 30, the council directed staff members to explore the options of bringing law enforcement services in house or contracting with another law enforcement agency. The Citrus Heights Police Department agreed to submit a proposal.
City Finance Director Donna Silva said the analyses have not been completed, although she expects them to be ready to present to the council this fall. The three-year extension, staff members said, would allow adequate time to evaluate options and prepare for a transition in service providers if the council decides to go that route.
Citrus Heights Police Chief Christopher Boyd said he attended Monday's meeting to assure the council that Citrus Heights remains "enthusiastically willing to engage in these further discussions."
Boyd said he appreciates the relationship the Citrus Heights Police Department has with both the city of Rancho Cordova and the Sheriff's Department.
"It's all about working together," he said
Silva said Rancho Cordova is talking to Citrus Heights about providing full services, or possibly a portion of services if Rancho Codva decided to establish an in-house department.
Sheriff's Capt. Rosanne Richeal, who serves as Rancho Cordova's police chief and oversees the sheriff's East Division, said the three-year extension was welcome news for sheriff's personnel assigned to the Rancho Cordova Police Department.
"For my staff, it's always been kind of the elephant in the room: When is the time that Rancho goes off on its own?" she said.
For at least three years, they won't have to think about "who do I go with, or who do I stay with," she said.