A good-sized audience was on hand this past Wednesday in the City Council Chamber to hear a consultant talk about two proposals he believes the City of Canyon Lake could implement to form its own City Police Department. Another meeting to hear this presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, May 5, at approximately 10:30 a.m. (following the City Public Safety Committee meeting).
Consultant Tom Hicks’ report can be read in full on the City’s website at cityofcanyonlake.com.
By way of introduction, Mr. Hicks writes, “The research in this report is for the purpose of determining the possibility of establishing a City Police Department for the City of Canyon Lake. This report should be considered informational, and should encourage a discussion between the elected officials and citizens of Canyon Lake to reach a decision that is best for the community . . . If the City of Canyon Lake plans to establish the new City Police Department, then time will be of the essence . . .”
Mr. Hicks says that, during this research, citizens expressed a number of concerns with the level of service provided by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD). These include:
- Slow response times to calls for service;
- Frequent rotation of different sworn personnel in and out of the community;
- Lack of police visibility (e.g. seldom seen on patrol); and
- Dissatisfaction with increasing costs of service (e.g. RCSD has raised fees).
Citizens have expressed that they would like to have:
- Faster response times;
- Control on costs for police service(s);
- More control over the officers;
- More services.
Councilwoman Dawn Haggerty, who ran on a campaign promise to investigate the possibility of creating a City Police Department to save the City money, says there are two proposals:
The first proposal is to convert from the Riverside Sheriff’s Department and create a City Police Department, without POA involvement.
- The second proposal is for the City and POA to partner together for a police force that would operate inside and outside the gates.
“We have tried to include all costs for start-up, general liability insurance policy, PERS and other employee costs, vehicle maintenance and insurance, operating costs such as booking and lab fees, etc.,” says Dawn. “In the plan, we set aside a $75,000 contingency fund to cover unplanned expenses.”
She urges everyone to come to the meetings with their questions. “We need to determine which, or if either plan would be best for Canyon Lake. Let’s make sure this plan is vetted completely so we know if it can work. If it can, we all will benefit from it.”
Mr. Hicks is a retired police chief and former federal agent, with a B.A. degree in Public Sector Management, along with extensive Police Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) education and credentials. He is an active member of the California Association of Chiefs of Police, the FBI National Academy Associates and the Retired Peace Officers Research Association of California. His consulting firm consists of three retired police chiefs and other law enforcement specialists.