Uncertain Police Cuts For Lakeland Village And Other Unincorporated Areas

A 200-square-mile unincorporated area surrounding Lake Elsinore and Wildomar is patrolled by deputies out of the Lake Elsinore Sheriff's Station.

The massive cuts to law enforcement expected this summer are not going to affect police service in the cities of Lake Elsinore and Wildomar, but questions still remain over how thinly spread deputies might be in the surrounding unincorporated area.

“We won't give out the detail of that breakdown of information until further along in the process and we know more,” Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Cpl. Courtney Donowho said in an email statement. “The layoffs will be phased over the summer after the exact budget cut is finalized in mid-June by the Board of Supervisors.

“The cuts cover all unincorporated areas regardless of which station they are operating out of,” Donowho continued. “There are about 370 patrol deputy positions currently serving the unincorporated areas across Riverside County.”

There are another 80 detectives, sergeants and lieutenants serving 10 patrol stations across the county for the incorporated area, she said.

A 200-square-mile unincorporated area surrounding Lake Elsinore and Wildomar is patrolled by deputies out of the Lake Elsinore Sheriff's Station.

The expected layoffs come as the department continues to grapple with the county over budget cuts.

The Sheriff's Department estimates that proposed county budget cuts will force unincorporated patrol levels down to .75 per 1,000 residents. Currently, for every 1,000 residents there is one patrol.

Last week, Pat McNamara, head of the 3,500-member Riverside Sheriffs' Association, said if any significant layoffs take place, it's going to be “devastating."

“Any amount of cuts in the law enforcement force is going to degrade public safety,” he said.

On Friday, Lake Elsinore Sheriff's Station Capt. Dave Fontneau reiterated that the cities of Lake Elsinore and Wildomar are not affected by the proposed cuts.

“They are contract cities and agreements are in place,” he said.

Currently, 16 cities across the county contract police services with the sheriff’s department.

“…  Costs (for police services) are a result of each city's own spending priorities and entirely funded by those cities,” Donowho said. “No county taxpayer dollars are involved in our contract cities like Lake Elsinore and Wildomar as they are already paying for the full costs associated with policing their communities.”

There are roughly 2,100 sworn deputies and another 750 correctional deputies at all ranks across the department, Donowho said.

As local officials stick to policing, representatives of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors made a final offer to the union representing employees of the Sheriff's Department on Friday, accordong to 5th District Supervisor Marion Ashley.

"Staff acting on the board's behalf were unable to reach agreement with the Riverside Sheriffs' Association and they presented the final, last, best offer and notified the S.A. they're imposing the offer," Ashley said, speaking at a San Gorgonio Pass Rotary Club luncheon at Sun Lakes Country Club in Banning.

"When you can't agree on a contract there's got to be a way to solve it," Ashley said. "And the way the law sets, when there's a stalemate the government agency can impose their final last best offer - 'this is the best I can do.'

"We couldn't agree," Ashley continued. "We instructed them what the last best offer will be. That will be brought to the Board of Supervisors at our next meeting to vote on and ratify." --Guy McCarthy and Rory O'Sullivan contributed to this report.



lary mccutchen May 23, 2011 at 01:54 AM
What happens if officer is on a call in Lakeland village, when your call comes in with no other officers able to take your call? That why you have to be fully ARMED & Defend yourself
Paul May 23, 2011 at 12:40 PM
Maybe if we went back to teaching the 10 commandments in elementary and high school and local ministers participation in gradution exercises we should not need as many sheriff deputies. We would still need a lot of them, but hopefully not as many. Back in the early days of the USA including when Thomas Jefferson was president the Bible was a required textbook in the Washington DC public school system.
Steve May 23, 2011 at 04:24 PM
With a full staff I called the sheriff for the unincorporated area because to Mexicans were stealing parts off my truck in broad daylight, 2.5 hours for them to arrive at my home after three phone calls and then when he finally did get there his attitude was like I was wasting his time. This kind of service is uncalled for and that's with a full staff!
Firstdistrict Voter May 23, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Thinking our area will not be effected is silly. The area north of Lake Street to Weirick Road used to have a single Deputy assigned. We lost that Deputy a few years ago. That means one less Deputy in just that small area of close to 10,000 homes. That's right, 10,000 homes, not people. That also means that's one less Deputy to assist other areas as needed and then returning to his or her assigned area. I'm not sure what other Deputy positions have been pulled but I'd imagine there are more. Remember, Buster wants to lower staffing to .75 of a Deputy per 1,000 people (documented people). That means if there are three shifts, you are down to that .75 of a Deputy per 3,000 people. Then, you have to account for the number of Deputies that are assigned to non-patrol functions like the jails. This is ridiculous. The County has the money and no new taxes are needed. They also just "found" $85,000,000 in Prop 172 money that is for Public Safety. Add that to the over $200,000,000 million already in "reserves" and it starts to add up to a chunk of change. I guess the board of sups really want to protect their $140,000+ a year salary, full retirement, take home car w/gas card, medical insurance, 401k, and on and on...... Oh, and their staff.... Oh, and THEY have a couple Deputies to provide security for the building they work in. I guess that's more important.
Firstdistrict Voter May 23, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Come on election time.. We need to elect a Golden Retriever. It won't have to speak, as long as it can sit. It will be sure to make better decisions than those up in the County seat.


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