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Riverbank, Oakdale Slate Joint Policing Meet
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Looking into the possibility of sharing police services, Riverbank and Oakdale have set a date of Monday, Aug. 29 in Riverbank City Council chambers for a joint study session on that topic.

Riverbank currently contracts to have the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department provide it with police services and foresees quickly rising costs in its contract; while Oakdale recently had to cut officers from its city police department for lack of funds.

Sheriff Adam Christianson briefly defended his department's record at a June 27 Riverbank council meeting and has agreed to make a fuller presentation at the Aug. 29 study session, said Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueno.

Madueno stressed at the earlier meeting she was not criticizing the Sheriff's Department or its services but wished to explore the regional concept of another system such as joint policing.

At that point, she had only attended an informational meeting with Oakdale Mayor Pat Paul, its Chief of Police Marty West and Police Services members.

To her understanding, Christianson will talk at the Aug. 29 meeting about what services his department currently provides and their costs and compare that with what Riverbank might expect if it goes to another system such as a joint police force with Oakdale, Madueno said.

Other cities such as Waterford and Hughson also might be interested in joining such an agency but this has not been mentioned except in casual conversation, she added.

Christianson told the June 27 meeting he agreed with the council's review of the contract and was prepared to provide a presentation to Riverbank. He had not been asked by the City of Oakdale to provide a presentation but had provided a proposal of costs for Oakdale to join the Stanislaus Regional 911 Joint Powers Agreement (for police dispatching) and costs for the Sheriff's Department to provide police services to them.

Christianson agreed with Madueno the decision on policing is for the residents to make and concluded his commitment is to continue providing the most effective and most efficient level of service.

Citizen Charles Neal requested staff produce the study of police service alternatives that was provided to the city and paid for by taxpayers so citizens also could consider the alternatives.

Another citizen Ramon Bermudez commented police services could be improved and that it might be better to remain with an agency with which the city is familiar if services are provided at a lower cost.

Vice Mayor Richard O'Brien asked to have a tour of Oakdale's police department dispatch center as part of the joint session and Interim City Manager Pam Carder said she would arrange the tour.