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FROM: ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER/CITY CLERK
DATE: FEBRUARY 21, 2006
SUBJECT: ADDITIONAL REGIONAL TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT
Direct staff to include the addition of a third traffic deputy to the Regional Law Enforcement Contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, in the Draft FY 06-07 Budget to be discussed at the Council’s upcoming Budget Workshop.
For many years, the City’s Regional Contract for law enforcement services with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has included two traffic units working the A.M. shift, including one patrol car and one motorcycle. On October 18, 2005, City Council authorized the addition of a third traffic deputy to cover the P.M. and weekend shift in Rancho Palos Verdes. The new traffic deputy is not part of the Regional Contract with the Cities of Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates and only patrols and issues citations in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. The new traffic deputy started in December 2005 and has been a very visible presence in the community since that time.
On November 10, 2005, staff provided the Regional Law Enforcement Committee with an informational report regarding the City’s new traffic deputy. The Committee was interested in the concept of additional traffic enforcement within the region and asked each city’s staff to confer with the Lomita Sheriff’s Station staff on the issues related to adding another traffic deputy to the Regional Contract and to report the results to the Committee on a future meeting agenda. On December 15, 2005, city staff, including the City Managers from Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes’ Assistant City Manager, met with the staff from the Lomita Sheriff’s Station, including Captain Zuanich, Lieutenant Lum and Sgt. Creason.
At the staff meeting, there was general agreement that, based on traffic collision statistics and the number of requests received from the public for increased traffic enforcement, there was a need to add a third traffic unit to the Regional Contract, even if Rancho Palos Verdes decided to maintain its own PM/weekend shift traffic deputy. Discussion centered on the cost of adding a third traffic deputy to the regional contract and the amount of time that would be required to hire and deploy the new personnel. City staff discussed using the existing 60%/30%/10% cost sharing formula for the new traffic unit (see Fiscal Impact). RPV staff indicated that City Council could be reluctant to give up its dedicated traffic unit after only recently acquiring it, but might be interested in adding another regional traffic unit in order to increase weekend coverage and afternoon presence around school sites.
The results of the staff meeting were presented to the Regional Law Enforcement Committee on February 9, 2005. The Committee members present, Councilman Stern, Mayor Pro Tem Lay from Rolling Hills and Councilman Addleman from Rolling Hills Estates, discussed the matter and unanimously passed a motion recommending that each City Council approve adding one traffic deputy to the Regional Contract beginning in FY 06-07. The Committee’s recommendation would not affect RPV’s existing dedicated traffic unit. The Committee members felt that the increase was justified by:
The Committee also discussed the concept of adding two additional traffic units to the Regional Contract. Committee and staff members from RH and RHE expressed concern about the cost implications of adding two new traffic deputies to the Regional Contract (Rolling Hills’ share would increase from 10% to 20% and Rolling Hills Estates’ share would increase from 30% to 60%). There was discussion that the cost of doubling the existing level of traffic enforcement might not be warranted in the other regional cities, given their small population size and limited geographic area.
The Regional Law Enforcement Committee has forwarded a recommendation to the three City Councils in the Regional Contract to add a traffic deputy to cover the P.M. and weekend shift. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes currently has the equivalent of 1.2 traffic deputies during the A.M. shift under the existing Regional Contract and 1 deputy during the P.M./weekend shift for which the City contracts separately with the County. The addition of a third traffic deputy to the Regional Contract would increase the P.M./weekend coverage in RPV to the equivalent of 1.6 deputies. The proposed increase would provide the City with the greatest amount of enforcement during the times when the most traffic collisions occur. Council may recall that at the September 10, 2005 Joint Workshop with the Traffic Safety Commission, the Sheriff’s Department reported that 47% of the traffic collision that occurred in RPV during FY 2004/2005 took place between 3:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M. The Sheriff’s Department has also reported that most traffic collisions in the region occur along the major arterial roadways (see Attachment). Finally, the addition of a third regional traffic deputy would allow more coverage on the weekends, when the City has received requests for directed patrols, such as on the Palos Verdes Drive East Switchbacks and during special events.
The current cost to provide an additional regional traffic deputy at the growth rate is presented in the chart below:
For comparison, the cost of a 40-hour/week deputy is currently $197,488.00. Using the cost sharing formula, Rancho Palos Verdes’ current share of this cost would be $118,493. Staff has been informed that the Sheriff’s Department currently anticipates a 3.5% increase in contract rates beginning in FY 06-07.
At the joint workshop with the Traffic Safety Commission held on September 10, 2005, The Sheriff’s Department suggested that the cost of adding an additional regional traffic deputy could potentially be offset by approximately $70,000 in revenue received from citations fines (assuming 8 citations issued per day).
In addition to the staff recommendation, Council might also wish to consider the following alternatives:
1. Maintain the City’s dedicated P.M./weekend traffic deputy, but do not participate in adding a third traffic deputy to the Regional Contract.
2. Participate in addition a third traffic deputy to the Regional Contract, but discontinue the City’s dedicated P.M./weekend traffic deputy beginning in FY 06-07.
3. Propose to the other regional cities that two additional traffic deputies be added to the Regional Contract in FY 06-07, and discontinue the City’s dedicated traffic deputy.
Staff is seeking clarification from the Sheriff’s Department on how long the growth rate would be available under the various alternatives and will report the results at this evening’s meeting.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk
Map of Traffic Collisions in the Region during FY 04-05