Could we have a super-cop union with consolidation?

Unions representing Fresno police officers and Fresno County sheriff’s deputies have been skeptical of efforts to consolidate public safety services in the Fresno metropolitan area. That hasn’t changed with the latest move by the Fresno City Council to hire a consultant to do a cost-benefit analysis of consolidation.

But the unions may be looking at this all wrong. Imagine how powerful a combined police/sheriff union would be if the forces were actually merged into a single law enforcement agency. This super-cop union would be even stronger than the separate Fresno Police Officers Association and Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s Association.

FPOA leader Jacky Parks says he’s worried that the union’s bargaining rights wouldn’t be respected in the consolidation move. I’m not so sure. A super-cop union would have elected officials terrified, and they’d likely give in to many  contract demands.

Union leaders are rightly concerned that consolidation would cut the number of officers, affecting their safety on the streets and their job security, as well as the clout of the two unions. I think the public would demand that a consolidated force provide at least the same number of officers. Why would voters support such a massive change if public safety would be lessened?

Those who should be concerned about consolidation are the high-ranking officers in both departments. You wouldn’t need two administrative staffs, with all the deputy chiefs and assistant sheriffs.

There’s always the fear of the unknown and unintended consequences of such a fundamental change. But the cop union that would come out of consolidation would be a powerful representative of officers and deputies — no matter what color of uniform they would ultimately wear.


Kim Tanksley says:

I’m less worried about a super-union for cops than I am about the consolidation. I actually believe that until turf wars die down within the combined union, it would be weaker until it regroups and becomes the same. The consolidation worries me though. Fresno City Cops and County Sheriff Department actually have different, although admittedly overlapping, functions. They also have different funding sources, requirements, etc. It’s like mixing a box of oranges and a box of apples together and expecting the juice that is created to be extra tasty. I don’t think it will be that easy to combine them and make them “tasty” or in other words as effective… and reducing numbers of officers on the streets doesn’t improve anything. Done correctly, you can’t just consolidate and call it done. An entire new unified system including a rebuild of funding sources, mission statements, and all the little details is required to do it correctly. That is about a 5 year process in my mind.

gloria hernandez says:

seems to me that the study committee should be focusing on how to make it happen not whether it can happened. it has been done in other cities bigger than Fresno. it would like the garbage merger that the mayor is trying to push on us. the police would have to apply and hope they get hired by the sheriff. we can no longer have the luxery of having FPD which cost taxpayers too much money in lawsuits. If the police are qualified they should not be worried, they will be hired. hopefully the sheriff will be able to weed out the bad cops those repeat shooters who carry a badge that they think gives them the right to kill.

Brian Murray says:

Gloria … next time you’re in danger…call a gang member, an illegal alien…or a lawyer.

Mike A. says:

Brian, with the spate of police shootings and police brutality I read about, I am now beginning to wonder who I fear most, the bad guys or the cops.

gloria hernandez says:

your response has no logic to what i wrote about.

Brian Murray says:

G-L-O-R-I-A…Gloria,I guess I should have clarified within FPD territory…meanwhile you disparage all officers with your blanket statements about FPD and then give the impression the sheriff dept. has no issues…naive at best, more likely biased…check out issues in other large city/county depts. if you care to challenge your opinion(s).

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