West Jordan is on the verge of an important decision.

Whatever the outcome may be, other communities throughout Salt Lake Valley would do themselves a favor by seriously studying the proposed improvement now under consideration in West Jordan.Next week, the West Jordan City Council will be presented with a proposal to consolidate the city's police department with the County Sheriff's Office at a saving of some $1.3 million a year.

That figure comes to about half of the $2.5 million that West Jordan spends each year on police protection, which constitutes 40 percent of the community's budget.

Such figures should give the other small communities in the county at least a rough idea of what they stand to gain by merging their law enforcement operations with the county's - and maybe fire fighting services and various other limited functions, too.

Over the years, as the population of this valley has grown, the once distinct dividing line between the county's urban and rural areas has become increasingly blurred. That's why the political boundaries within the county no longer make as much sense as they once did. It's also why a long list of independent studies has repeatedly called for piecemeal consolidation of various city-county operations.

So far, the county and cities have successfully consolidated such services as the City-County Health Department, the City-County Landfill, fire department dispatching, and the arson task force. The county also provides sheriff and animal control services to some suburban cities.

Now how about continuing the trend? Law enforcement and fire fighting aren't the only logical candidates for consolidation. How about also moving ahead with combined purchasing operations, unified computer systems, and joint personnel departments?