Some said the unions wouldn't allow it, as if the unions ran the City, and therefore shouldn't bother with it. Others said it would result in poor service and create dangerous conditions.
That idea is has been implemented in Redlands California where it has proved to be a massive savings for tax payers while improving the actual services.
The story at Governing.com features Redlands PD describes what has happened after drastic cuts were made. The following is a brief excerpt.
At a time when most city and local governments are preparing to do less with less, officials in Redlands are taking a different approach: They’re attempting to maintain current levels of service through other means. Ramping up the use of volunteers is one of them.
It’s easy to see why. Three years ago, the police department in Redlands, a city of 71,000 people east of Los Angeles, had 98 sworn officers, 208 civilians and about two dozen volunteers. The police budget was $23.8 million, nearly half of the city’s operating budget. Today, the department employs 75 sworn officers and 138 civilians and relies on 291 active volunteers, who last year contributed more than 31,000 hours of their time to the city.
Later the article says, Pleas read the article and discover how Fullerton might incorporate some of the solutions Redlands has implemented. As the article suggests, "Do-it-yourself government is here for good."
“We have fewer resources,” says City Manager N. Enrique Martinez. “We had to cut staff. My challenge is to maintain the same service level if not better. The public is not interested in whether you have 15 fewer people than before or not.”
Nor should they be. At least that’s the argument Police Chief Jim Bueermann makes. “The fallback position for most local government bureaucrats like me,” he says, “is that it’s so much easier to say, ‘We have $3 million less so you are going to get fewer services.’ But there are multiple ways to get to the outcomes that taxpayers expect their police department is going to deliver.” Prominent among them are a greater reliance on technology and a greater use of volunteers.