Police in the New Menifee City

Law enforcement, or lack thereof, has been one of the biggest selling points on why us folks in the Menifee Valley should vote for cityhood....

Law enforcement, or lack thereof, has been one of the biggest selling points on why us folks in the Menifee Valley should vote for cityhood.

I received an e-mail today from a Menifee 24/7 reader who wanted to express his/her thoughts about contracting with the Sheriff versus building a homegrown police department. Here's what they said...

The latest article I read stated that the new city would initially "contract for services" with Riverside Sheriff. Nothing against them but I don't like that idea at all. Let me explain why.

We currently pay $1.5 million dollars for thier "services" now. $1 million to the Sheriff and $500K to CHP for "Traffic services." Now, that figure nets us (Menifee Residents) 1 Deputy Sheriff and ? CHP Officers (since I never see them providing traffic services). How exactly are we to benefit at all from cityhood and contracting unless we are willing to start our own police department?

Oh, and let me tell you this "it is not cheaper" to contract with Riverside Sheriff, just ask the City of San Jacinto how much they "saved" by contracting out to Riverside. Nothing, in fact they are paying a great deal more now than they ever did with their own police department. in fact I hear they are considering going back to thier own police department as a result (unconfirmed).

Folks we need to do this right from the start, lets' not make the same mistakes other cities have. No complaints against the Fire Department, they are doing a great job (plus at least I see them), but Law Enforcement isn't holding up their end of the bargain. Have you seen the graffitti, gang members, parolees, sex offenders, homeless, and basic thugs running around our soon to be city? Where are the guys in the uniforms being visible and running these folks out of our town (Except for the College Police)?

It's bad enough that there are over 300 forclosed homes in Menifee alone, but that is just the beginning. Next we will be a low rent district with little to no law enforcement until it's too late, can you say "City of Perris." Your Thoughts?
I think it's a foregone conclusion that the new city will contract with the Sheriff. I believe that the "feasibility study", that just barely shows us as being viable, was based on the expectation that we'd contract with the Sheriff.

The important thing to know about this, is that by having our own city, it makes it easier for us to hold our city council members responsible. It's alot easier to vote them out of office than it is for us vote a Sheriff out of office.

If the Sheriff doesn't provide the improvement that we're looking for under the new incorporated city, then we need to vote the city council members out. It's that simple.

To do this, we must have a short list of our top law enforcement improvements, and refer back to this list everytime we evaluate our city council. We also need a public forum to discuss the city council's effectiveness. And I'll be glad to host that discussion here.

One issue I would like the first city council to address, is to have a police officer arrive on the scene within 15 minutes of your call, on average. Right now, if you called the Sheriff's substation, it's likely a Deputy won't even visit you.

So here's a list of top three law enforcement improvements that we should hold our city council members to...

  1. Improve in-person response times to 15 minutes on average, every call

  2. .....

  3. .....
What should the other two law enforcement improvements be?


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  1. I think a higher visibility around the city would do wonders for the small problems that are occuring. I know I am tired of seeing the graffiti around the neighborhoods. The youth do it because they know a Deputy will not be coming around the corner at any minute. While I respect the Sheriffs Department and its men and women, there are just not enough of them to rovide an adequate service to the size of this "City."

    If you do call for service, please make sure you understand that it is not the Deputies fault for the slow response time. They are going to the calls in a priority system.

  2. Menifee is not a city right now, so you cannot compare services offered now, compared to a city with a "police department" Look at Temecula, they contract with the sheriff for their "police department", and growing up in this area, I can say once they became a city and contracted with the Sheriff to have a police department, it was a tremendous improvement. Also, San Jacinto has had an improvement in servies since switching over to Sheriff. If we became a city and contracted with Sheriff, there would be a station in Menifee and response times would drastically decrease, and visibility would increase. I'm not saying Menifee should contract with the Sheriff's Department, Murrieta has a great Police Department and Menifee could have the same. Either way, services will improve.

  3. Once Menifee becomes a city we need to sit down with the Sheriff's Dept. and create a plan. We will get limited resources from them, so we need to come up with a community base policing plan. Community watches and coordinated responses from the Sheriff when one of the groups calls in something. It's workable. It just takes community support and follow through.

  4. Good Job on this topic!! No disrespect to Riverside Sheriff, they have great folks over there, but I have to agree, they just aren't cutting it. I almost never see a deputy in Menifee and response times when you do call are horrible. I spoke to a Deputy recently and he told me that Menifee "is just a response area" I asked him what he meant and he said "We don't come here unless we're called." I asked "Why?" he said "There's too much going on in Perris!" I get it now. We are just going to get the very minimum. It's really nice to know that the College gets more police coverage than our entire (City?). I think the original post hit the nail on the head. If what we get now costs us $1.5 Million, what will it cost us to get what we want and need? BIG BUCKS, which is exactly why this conversation went away months ago. The back door deals have begun, the payoffs have started, and let the contracting begin. No talk of "Our own Menifee Police" because Jeff Stone and the Sheriff made deals to let cityhood through with a back door deal to give the contracts to the Sheriff, in return the city would get more money, which will all go back to the County anyway under contracting. SO IT'S A BIG CIRCUS WHEEL. Come on people wake up! Here is the simple math you can do:

    1 Deputy (24/7) = $1 Million Dollars per year. How many deputies do you want? (the county will be happy to sell em' to ya).

    See they don't need to impress us much with their services since the deal is already done. They are just waiting for the new revenue to come in and expand thier influence to yet another city. We'll never have are own Police or Fire, that's the way it's done in this county. The person who commented on Temecula and thier services is right, but they are paying alot for that aren't they? I think that is the point. We can have more for less if we do it ourselves. I'll be happy to do the math. We do have choices, but it takes the communities voice to get it done. These new city counsel candidates need to know how we feel. Unless no one cares.

  5. I live in the Heritage Lake development and everyone out here is voting for cityhood, Thanks for including us. We are also having a lot of graffiti at our parks and trails and I have seen maybe one or two police patrols in 2 years. We need more officers, no doubt! My neighbor is a riverside county sherriff and he tells me that there are more officers in this area than previously because of the growth.

  6. There's two pieces of information that aren't being addressed in the blog post or the previous comments that I would like to bring up:

    1. The Menifee area has no political way to create a police department or fire department until it officially becomes a city. The easiest thing to do once the city incorporates is to sign a short-term contract with the existing safety departments until the new city can put something else into place. Almost all new cities do this with the existing safety departments, then they take time within the first year to establish new contracts or departments. This is no big deal.

    2. If a city contracts with the Sheriff's Department then the city gets what they pay for. Temecula has a wonderful police department and it is by contract with the Sheriff. The reason for this is because Temecula pays for the number of officers they want, the number of units on duty at any time, etc. So if the new city of Menifee wants more officers than what the Sheriff's Department is currently supplying then it can be negotiated and contracted and the City can pay for the better service; as an unincorporated area we have no capability to increase police presence without lobbying the County Supervisors. Most cities that contract with the Sheriff's Department also get a senior officer (usually a Captain) to act as that city's police chief and answer to the mayor and city council. The contracted deputies then become an entire police department for the city.

    I'm not necessarily advocating for a contract with the Sheriff's Department if Menifee becomes a city. I just want people to be aware that the contracting city gets whatever they want and are willing to pay for, regardless of what the Sheriff's Department or CHP do in unincorporated areas. Obviously any contract with any department has many things to consider, but the new Menifee City Council should seriously consider a contract with the Sheriff's Department as a viable option.

  7. I agree that higher police visibility is and will be an asset to focus on once we incorporate. I believe forming a Menifee Police Department in conjunction with the County Sheriff and the college campus police will benefit the city greatly. I actually have a couple ideas where graffiti and other smaller crimes are concerned. 1. Make a non-emergency phone number easy to dial and remember. 2. If elected I will work close with the police department to keep response times as quick as possible. Make sure they have the resources they need to do the job to protect our communities and respond quickly to even non-emergency calls. 3. I would also work to bring the various homeowners associations to the table and speak directly with our police force, so we know what is working as well as what can be improved on, because who best can give input but citizens living in the areas. I believe that public services(police, fire, first responders) are the true measure of how local communities can be graded, so rest assured I will always do all I can to work with public service departments. As a city official I will work to get our city awarded federal, state, and county public safety funding grants, to keep the funding at adequate levels. We know if we get our public safety departments the resources, they will get the job done. Our public services are going to become even more vital as our city grows.

  8. We need to do what ever it takes to get more of a presence from the sheriff in this area. I live in the Oak Hill homes near Ridgemoor Elementary and My home was broken into back in Sept and when I called to have someone come out they just wanted to take a report over the phone, the only way I could get them to come out was to tell them, I was scared to go back into my home because I was not sure if anyone was still in there. They didn' care one bit! Some help they were.

  9. I understand having to wait for a police officer around here may take some time. Also having to wait for an ambulance for 15 min is horrific. There is no reason for anyone to have to wait for a ambulance that is responding from Perris, and trust me it happens. And who's to say that CDF has a paramedic on the fire engine arriving to your door to help your family member with a heart problem. What if your home catches fire and you find that CDF has pulled out the neighborhood fire engine to cover a different area in Riverside County? We do have good Firefighters and Paramedics now, but its the adminstration of Riverside County Sheriff, Cal Fire and AMR Ambulance that I question. Those problems could go away with a city having its own Police/Fire Department. Would it cost us more money? Sure, but Iam willing to pay it for better service and accountability. Taking the cheaper route when it comes to public saftey isnt the best way. If and when I call 911 I want to know that I'm getting the very best service I can for my family.

  10. I'm not saying that we need to contract with the Sheriff's Dept., but you have to look at all the fiscal issues. With your own Police Dept, every time you book a prisoner there is a fee you have to pay. How long will it be before the "council" decides not to arrest and book people because it's too expensive.
    Once you hire officers, it's a risky job, who do you think will be paying if a couple get injured on duty and get medically retired? You'll be paying their retirement and paying for hiring more officers. Plus with the Sheriff you get the resources of a K-9, helicopter, etc much quicker than with your own police

  11. In response to the Oak Hills Comment.I live on Ridgemoor and last friday night someone tried to break into my home and I have to say the Sheriffs department did an awesome job. The 911 dispatcher made sure I stayed calm and talked me through the entire situation and eventhough it felt like eternity they took maybe 10 min. There was a helicopter and 6 units setting up a peramiter around my home. They spent ample time surching my yard, my home and the surrounding area. They officers made me feel safe and comfortable.They did not skip a beat. As a wife of a former police officer I understand what these men sacrifice daily. I have lived in this community since I was a child and I am now raising my children here, I still feel safe in my home and I have seen plenty of Deputies around the area and one CHP officer who hangs out on Ridgemoor to control the speeding at least 2-3 times a week. I agree they are spread thin, but lets give credit where it is due. The officers are doing what they can for our community.

  12. Well it looks like one of the candidates is already in the pockets of the developers taking $2,500 from one of them. It didn’t take long for that. It was nice to see that the candidate said the developer would be required to put roads and parks in along with the thousands of homes. Because there are so many of those developments out there that don’t have any roads?

    It is standard that developers donate land for parks and schools when they wish to build a large amount of homes. So it was good the candidate clarified that she would make them.

    Good luck Menifee.

  13. To the one who lives near Ridgemoor. I'm glad that you had that kind of response and that you feel safe. The difference is that they did break into my home and cleaned me out and now I don't feel safe, and now I am always scared to leave my home but that wasn't good enough the sheriffs dept They will get the credit from me when I get that kind of response. The officer who finally did come to my home made me feel as though he had something better to do.
    So credit and respect are earned in my book.

  14. Riverside County lacks the funds to hire enough Sheriffs to have a presence throughout the county. You have to understand, the criminal activity in our area is far less than other parts of the county. The hands of these Sheriffs are tied. They have to respond in order of importance. Felony calls have the higher response rate.

    However, we will see more of a presence here in Menifee. From what I understand, there is now a 2 man team that has been assigned parol just in our area. The response times should improve.

    Another thing to keep in mind: The DA is overwhelmed with cases. (This is what I have been told by a friend with the Sheriff's Dept.) Many cases are being thrown out because the DA feels they will not get a conviction. He is currently getting help from outside the county to get through the current cases but it is expected he will not be caught up for 6 months. Many cases that the Sheriffs work hard to bring to trial are being thrown out by the DA. HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL? I agree, I would like more of a presence here, but we need to look at the big picture. We need a DA THAT WILL GO TO TRIAL, and we need more money to be spent on additional officers. Until that happens, Im sorry, the patrolling Sheriffs can only do so much. They need to be in 3 places at once if they were to please everybody.

  15. You know I really like what the College did. I live accross from the college and I have to tell you, they really made a huge difference over here. Years ago there was drugs, vandalism, burglaries, car thefts, and other crime going on over here alot. When the Campus Police started working they got very pro-active. I would see them stopping people left and right. There wasn't a day that went by that they were'nt taking someone to jail. Serious crime too, not just small stuff.

    About a year ago I went over to thier police station and I spoke to thier Chief. he was very pleasant and took the time to talk to me for about a half hour or so. I learned a few neat things. First, they didn't have many cops (still don't by the way) but they used a very effective technique. They got pro-active and went after the criminals before they could victimize thier community. See they made it very risky for bad guys to come near the campus area. Therefor they stayed away. Neat concept. Instead of sitting back and waiting to respond, they went after the bad guys. This made a huge difference even to this day. Thier crime rate on the campus is next to zero, and I benefited by having the crime rate in my area drop as well.

    They work really well with the Sheriff and they have nothing but great things to say about Riverside Sheriff. They said the Sheriff is a partner. Together they solve problems. I know that east of the 215 freeway is a much safer place today since they (the college)started thier police Department. The residence over here love them.

    My point is this. If we start our own police I hope they adopt the same way of doing business as the college. I also think the Sheriff and the College Police cound work together more as a team to help Menifee now. I did some research and found out that U.C. Riverside and the Riverside Police have a joint team that works around the University together. Why can't we do the same thing? That would increase the number of police in Menifee and help to solve some of our issues now. Just a thought. By the way I Like the Riverside Sheriff too and I understand that they have a tough job keeping up with the whole county. But to those that are suffering now, that's not much consulation.