Is Contracting Police Services More Cost Effective? A Cost Benefit Analysis of Contracted Police Services Versus Direct Service Delivery

Public safety services are needed in every municipality to serve and protect members of the community. There is a growing trend of contracting out public safety services, including police and fire services. This research will explore the cost-benefit analysis of municipalities with contracted police services versus non-contracted. A total of five municipalities were used for this study. The cities of Bradbury, Cudahy and Maywood contract out their services to LASD, while the cities of Monrovia and Sierra Madre have established local police departments. The dependent variable in this study is the cost-effectiveness of contracted versus non-contracted police services. To better understand what contributes to the cost-effectiveness on services, the independent variables considered in the study include each city’s budget. There is prior research that suggests that it is more cost-effective to contract police services from neighboring cities or the county than local police departments. Additionally, there are common characteristics found in cities that contract police services that relate to population size. This study found that the cities of Bradbury, Cudahy and Maywood spend less money to provide police services to their communities in comparison to Monrovia and Sierra Madre. While the study had similar results to previous studies, it important to note the study only focuses on cost-effectiveness and does not measure the quality or satisfaction of either police service approach. It is suggested that municipalities consider other factors, in addition to cost-effectiveness, when deciding on a police service approach.