City of Coachella sets aside funds to eventually reopen its own police department

The City of Coachella announced they have adopted a budget policy to set funds aside to eventually reopen its own Police Department.

In a press release, the city says the move was ‘to reduce the current escalation in Public Safety cost by Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and to regain control in policing matters.”  The city says it has seen a 49% budget increase due to rate increases advocated by the County Sheriff and approved by Riverside County Supervisors. As a result, the city says, “law enforcement services have cost Coachella tax payers $3.2 million without the Sheriff’s Department providing any additional services.”

The city entered into a contract with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office and on December 17, 1998, an official ceremony was held to close the Coachella Police Department.

“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,” said Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez. “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 nonspendable reserve account.

The City projects it will take $10-$15 million to reopen its Police Department. No timeline was released.