Update added to include comments from BSO:
An opinion issued by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Tuesday states that cities can contract with neighboring cities for police service. This means that the Broward Sheriff's Office could face some competition as some cities consider looking to other departments for police protection.
The town of Southwest Ranches sought the opinion. Ranches recently extended its contract with BSO for two months through the end of November and has contemplated entering a contract instead with nearby town of Davie.
"It is my opinion that the town of Southwest Ranches may enter into an interlocal agreement for the provision of law enforcement services with an adjoining municipality within the same county...." states Bondi's opinion.
The decision "spawns competition in the marketplace and basically let’s BSO know they are no longer the only game in town,” said Ranches attorney Keith Poliakoff.
But BSO general counsel Ron Gunzburger said that Bondi's opinion means that police services can be contracted in the same way as fire/rescue services have for years.
"We already successfully handle the fire/rescue needs today of municipalities, even though they each have three options (operating their own municipal service; contracting with BSO; or contracting with an adjoining municipality). Likewise, we will continue to be equally effective and competitive on the law enforcement side. BSO does a great job with providing law enforcement services throughout Broward County, and the residents of BSO contract cities highly praise our work."
BSO has police contracts with 14 cities and fire/rescue contracts with 8 cities.