BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Police services in Boynton Beach could soon change hands. City leaders are exploring potential savings if the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office takes over the police department.
Police chief Matt Immler is very matter-of-fact about the budget constraints his department is facing. He says he needs another $2 million to continue operating as is, because the department is losing crucial federal grant money.
"There no place to cut, we're finished cutting," says Chief Immler.
It's unlikely the city can afford to give him that money, so the possibility of PBSO taking over police services is now on the table.
Chief Immler asked the sheriff's office to submit a proposal on what a takeover would look like, and how much it would cost the city.
He says PBSO is interested in it, and should submit a proposal within the next few weeks, but this is just one possible solution to dealing with a waning budget.
"The economy is still not good, our property values have not made the recovery we hoped for in Boynton Beach. As a result the ability to fund our general fund is diminished, we have to look at all the alternatives," says chief Immler.
The chief says the decision to consider PBSO taking over has nothing to do with the arrests of four officers over the last year. He says those issues are in the past, and dealing with a crippling budget is his main priority.
City commissioner Bill Orlove says the city is in the "very preliminary" stages of considering a takeover. He says the city is gathering information. Without having seen any figures from PBSO, Orlove would prefer to keep the police department in Boynton Beach.
"Having a local police department has it's advantages and we're looking at all the possibilities due to another tight budget year," says Orlove.
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