COACHELLA —  Less than three weeks after the Board of Supervisors on June 2 approved Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco’s request to spike the rate charged to 17 cities and other contract entities for law enforcement operations, the city of Coachella is exploring way to create its own police department.

Five Coachella Valley communities — La Quinta, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Coachella and Indian Wells — each contracts with the sheriff’s department. Each expects cost increases up to 7%.

To reduce the current escalation in Public Safety cost by Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and to regain control in policing matters, the city of Coachella has enacted a budget policy to set money aside to reopen its own Police Department.

The City projects it will take $10-$15 million to reopen its Police Department.

The city on Nov. 4, 1998 approved to contract with Riverside County Sheriff’s Office and on Dec. 17, 1998, an official ceremony was held to close the Coachella Police Department.

City of Coachella’s Police Services Budget beginning fiscal year 2013/2014 ($6.45 million) to 2019/2020 ($9.65 million), has seen a 49% budget increase due to rate increases advocated by the County Sheriff and approved by Riverside County Supervisors.

As a result, law enforcement services have cost Coachella tax payers $3.2 million without the Sheriff’s Department providing any additional services.

“Unfortunately, Riverside County Sheriff told Contract Cities that no increases were going to occur, but as we seen recently, increases were implemented backdating to July 1, 2019,” Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez said in a statement. “Additionally, there isn’t an opportunity for our City Council to hold the Sheriff’s Department accountable for budgetary costs, administration, or conduct.”

Moving forward the city will identify Police Department capital projects and assets required to utilize Development Impact Fees to offset the cost to the General Fund. Sales Tax revenue collected that exceed the city’s budget forecast will be set aside and identified in a non-spendable reserve account.


Image Sources

  • police sirens: Pixabay