HALF MOON BAY -- City officials decided to outsource the local police and recreation departments Saturday.
To many, it felt like they were cutting out the city's heart as well.
Police Sgt. Dennis Loubal broke down and wept at the microphone as he struggled to express how painful it would be for him to give up the Half Moon Bay police uniform he'd been wearing for the past 14 years. In spite of that, he said the city ought to contract with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office; it would save the city $509,000 and balance the budget.
Loubal and the rest of the sworn officers would retain their jobs under the proposal submitted by the county, but it just won't be the same.
"I've been serving this community, and I know I'll be rotated out," he said.
Several residents wiped away tears as they sat and listened, including another police officer and the city's mayor, Naomi Patridge, who had to leave the dais to control herself.
Half Moon Bay will begin negotiating with the city of San Carlos to take over its recreation services and work out contract details with the Sheriff's Office, which already patrols the rest of the Coastside north and south of Half Moon Bay. The changes will save the city $700,000 each year, a sizable chunk of change in a municipality with a $9.7 million budget. The police department accounts for one-third of that budget.