The Broward Sheriff's Office empire may be about to lose control of one of its key turf areas: Pompano Beach.
A consulting firm hired by the city met with Pompano commissioners last week and told them that its $80,000 study found that the city could save $3 million a year if it broke away from BSO and formed its own police force, said city officials.
That's just the kind of news that the embattled Lamberti didn't need to hear, especially as he enters a tumultuous budget battle with the County Commission. Pompano's $37 million contract with BSO is up for renewal in September and, with the consultant's recommendation, it is undoubtedly in serious jeopardy.
"The consulting firm said it would be a lot more reasonable if we had our own police force," Pompano Commission Woody Poitier told me today. "They will come out with a final report and we'll get our questions answered. I don't have enough to make up my mind yet, but if you're talking about cost savings, then I would be crazy not to say that we should have our own police force."
Poitier said BSO's cost keeps going up. He says the cost is expected to rise another 5 percent for next year, from $37 million to $38.8 million. And he says the city doesn't seem to get what it's paying for from Sheriff Lamberti and his force.
"BSO often has left a lot to be desired for Pompano," he said. "Our detectives, for instance, are not in the building in Pompano; they are downtown. They service Pompano, but they also service everybody else. Same with the dog units."
I asked Poitier if he felt there was a consensus among the commission to terminate the BSO contract. He replied: "I think if you put it up for a vote and you show that savings the consulting company says is there, they will all vote for going to back our own police department."