The Lakeland Board of Commissioners requested the City staff to review the alternatives for a Lakeland Police Department if this should become necessary.
I emphasize there are currently no plans to start a Police Department, but the Board of Commissioners wanted to be informed as to the possible costs of a Police Department.
I have assumed a “full-scale” Police Department. A smaller Police Department is also an alternative. This report assumes “averages”, which may or may not be the case if Lakeland starts a Police Department.
Some basic costs and considerations based on averages are as follows:
· -Twenty-two police officers would be required based on an average of 2 officers per 1000 persons for a full-scale Police Department.
· -In general, the cost of a Police Department operations for one year for cities average about $200 per capita, obviously this can vary widely. The annual budget would be $2,200,000 per year, based on $200 per capita for Lakeland’s population of 10,848. (I assumed 11,000 for the purposes of this analysis.)
· Since Lakeland has no Police infrastructure, the City would also incur startup costs including:
o -At least one station, probably in the range of $1,500,000
o -Police vehicles, on average, 8 vehicles at an average cost (fully equipped) of approximately $30,000. Many Police Departments utilize one car per officer and allow “take home” vehicles, especially if they live in the City limits. My experience has been that, in the long run, it is better to assign an Officer a car and make the Officer responsible for the car. This would require 22 cars, assuming 22 officers, with an initial cost of $660,000.
o -Uniforms, computers, communications equipment, personal equipment (this varies greatly)
o -Establishing a Lakeland Court System, which we could do with a part-time Judge
o -Establishing contracts with the County or other cities for jails, dispatching etc. I think it would be impossible for us to consider our own jail. For example, If we had to do our own dispatching, qualified dispatchers receive on a general average of around $3,000 per month plus benefits. Assuming we would need four to five dispatchers, this would increase costs by approximately $220,000 per year. Larger departments recommend having a separate dispatcher for police and fire, but at our size, one dispatcher would suffice.
The analysis indicates that when the City of Lakeland needs to establish our own Police Department, it could be extremely expensive. Obviously, we would be unable to fund a Lakeland Police Department with our current resources.
I again want to emphasize that there are no plans to start a Lakeland Police Department in the immediate future. The Board of Commissioners felt it was prudent to review the matter.