Consolidating El Paso city police officers and county sheriff's deputies into a single department is hardly a new idea, but new momentum for it might be building.
Earlier discussions became mired in disputes over who would run such a department and in the many complications involved in creating one. But with the city and county entering another tight budget season, leaders of both governments are again floating the idea of a combined force.
The city is seeking to patch a $10 million budget hole, and City Manager Joyce Wilson estimates local governments would save at least 25 percent on law-enforcement administrative costs -- possibly more than $800,000 a year.
Proponents of consolidation also say a single department would be better able to meet the needs of a growing county.