Hike rates

Riverside County Approves Sheriff’s Request to Raise Rates – NBC Palm Springs – News, Weather, Traffic, Breaking News

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

The 4.74% increase is retroactive to July 1, 2020, and is necessary to recover higher costs incurred by the department, according to agency officials. Under the revised fee schedule, the cost of a Sheriff’s Patrol Assistant will increase from $188.95 to $197.90 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 posted on the board’s 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 5%. 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.

Last year, the city of Menifee terminated its contract with the county for law enforcement services and formed an autonomous 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.

Supervisor Kevin Jeffries pointed out that while there have been strident demands to cut law enforcement spending — and even eliminate agencies — the fact remains that most of the public “want more service.”

“There are people who are concerned about the conduct and training of assistants, and yes, there is always room for improvement,” he said. “But as our countywide survey says…they want more deputies, not less.”

He said unincorporated communities are particularly in need of improved services.

In addition to the increase in deputies’ rates, the council authorized that the 16 municipalities under contract with the county for law enforcement services be required to pay higher or lower sums for the use by the sheriff of 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 Indian Wells, which faces a bill of $87,396, up from $71,458 last year, a jump of about 22%.

Perris will bear the highest installation costs in dollars and cents: $539,142, an increase of 2% over the prior year.

However, most cities and community service districts will see net savings in facility fees for the current fiscal year, according to the sheriff’s filings.