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The Baldwin Park Police Officers Association (BPOA) believe that the dissolution of the Baldwin Park Police Department is almost imminent. Therefore, more than 50 officers have applied to join as agents with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, now that the city plans to hire their services for public safety duties.
Other members of the Baldwin Park Police Department (BPPD) were also searching for opportunities in other agencies in the region, said BPOA President William Root in a recent interview with Patch.
"My opinion is that there is a 90% chance that they will hire the Sheriff," said Root.
"We understand. We just want to have a voice in what the process is going to entail and what the end results are going to be," Root said. "We have been told that we will be taken care of, but we don't know that," he added.
To date, it is unknown what the selection process is going to be for police officers applying to become Sheriff's deputies, if that option is indeed available. BOPD agents had until Friday to submit their applications.
The City began to consider the possibility of hiring the Sheriff and dismantling the Police Department as a way to tackle the budget deficit.
According to Finance Director Lorena Quijano, the city had to either increase its income substantially, or face alternatives such as hiring the Sheriff.
Root said the BPOA is not against the possibility, but simply needs more information on the negotiations between the City and the Sheriff's Department.
"We don't want to obstruct, we just want to be part of the process," he said. "We need to know how our retirement plan will be handled, how much sick time, vacation..." Root added. "Right now we know nothing".
Authorities have said that the option is still being evaluated. In October, the City approved an addition $90,000 study to comprehensively assess the costs and benefits of a possible contract with the Sheriff.
A preliminary report claimed that, for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the cost of current police services would amount to $19.4 million, while the total cost for the Sheriff's services would be $14.7 million.
This second study could be completed in February or March of 2013, which is when the city will make a final decision.
"We're told there will be opportunities for us later, but this second phase is where all negotiations take place," said Root. "The City and the Sheriff tell us they don't know, we are in the dark and that really scares us," he added.