Hike rates

Board considers sheriff’s request to raise rates for contract towns

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco’s request on Tuesday to increase the aggregate rate charged to 16 towns and other contracted entities for the use of patrol deputies and support services.

The 4.09% increase, if approved, would be retroactive to July 1, 2021. According to sheriff’s officials, it is necessary to recover higher costs incurred by the department.

Under the revised fee schedule, the cost of a Sheriff’s Patrol Assistant would drop from $197.90 per hour to $206 per hour.

“Each year, the Sheriff’s Department uniquely analyzes its patrol operations and effectively determines true costs through its size,” according to an agency statement released on Tuesday’s board agenda. “Fully supported contract enforcement rates include all of the system costs of running a (law enforcement) service.”

The agency acknowledged that the main pressures in the current budget cycle come from rising “pension obligations and salary increases” secured by the Riverside Sheriffs Association for the several thousand MPs it represents, and the costs of increased pensions and salary increases for management personnel. represented by the Law Enforcement Management Unit.

Last year’s increase was 4.74%. In 2015, a 7% rise caused an outcry from elected and unelected officials in Indian Wells, Lake Elsinore, Moreno Valley, Palm Desert and Temecula, who disputed the justification for an adjustment to the such a significant increase. They protested that law enforcement spending was draining their budgets and needed to be capped.

The objections led to a two-year assessment of the sheriff’s operations conducted by Netherlands-based professional services firm KPMG, at a cost of nearly $40 million. After the audit and the company’s recommendations, some sheriff’s management practices were changed and adjustments were made to the schedules and assignments of deputies at several stations to save money.

However, KPMG’s work was criticized by the Riverside County Grand Jury and other sources as excessively expensive with limited results.

The City of Menifee in 2020 terminated its contract with the county for law enforcement services and formed a stand-alone police department.

Cities benefit from helicopter patrols, robbery and homicide investigations, responses from SWAT units and deminers without having to pay the bills individually. Contracting entities are further spared the cost of lawsuits arising from the actions of sheriff’s staff, according to the agency.

In addition to rates for hiking patrol deputies, council should allow the 16 municipalities contracted by the county for law enforcement services to be required to pay varying amounts for sheriff’s use. facilities dedicated to serving the communities.

Officials said the heaviest bills typically come from county facilities management department costs to maintain stations, including lights, waterworks, landscaping and custodial operations. The sheriff first bears the expenses, then passes them on to the contractors, each being billed in proportion to their consumption.

The largest percentage increase in facility costs will be borne by San Jacinto, which faces a bill of $43,759, up from $30,635 last year, a jump of about 43%.

Perris would incur the highest installation costs in dollars and cents: $557,019, an increase of 3% over the prior year.

According to the sheriff’s documents, a few cities, including Coachella and La Quinta, will realize substantial savings in facility fees for the current fiscal year.

The current rate increases requested by the sheriff follow the council’s approval last month of increased departmental overtime rates, which are charged to cities, courts and other entities for the the use of deputies, investigators, crime scene technicians, helicopter pilots and other personnel when assigned to duties outside of their normal working hours, such as for parades , festivals and other special events.