Could Ohio Police Department Mergers Save Money, Avert Layoffs?


In 2003, city and county police forces around Louisville merged, creating one mega-police department. The Cincinnati Enquirer says it’s an idea that some politicians in Hamilton County – where there are 48 police departments – are tossing around, though gingerly. Proponents say combining the city and county law enforcement agencies here could save taxpayers money and avert more layoffs.

Sagging government revenues forced the city of Cincinnati to contemplate laying off 138 officers. The Hamilton County sheriff’s office has cut 260 of its 1,067 jobs since last year and closed its second-largest jail. Studies have found little evidence that other such mergers across the country saved money, or jobs. The Enquirer analyzed local police budget statistics to see how much money could be saved through consolidation in the Cincinnati area. “(Our) research has proven that there is absolutely no short-term savings when you consolidate. That’s part of our myth busting,” said John Firman of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which offers guidance and hosts retreats for communities considering police mergers.

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