Needles, CA: Needles City Council voted unanimously to approve a supplemental law enforcement deputy staffing proposal for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station.

By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):

Sources: City of Needles, Needles City Manager Rick Daniels and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Captain Ross Tarangle (Information):

Needles, California: Members of the Needles City Council voted unanimously to approve a supplemental law enforcement deputy staffing proposal for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station during their regular meeting that occurred on Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 inside the Needles City Council Chambers.

The discussion and vote on the supplemental law enforcement deputy staffing proposal was broadcast live at ZachNews on Facebook (Please fast forward video to 1:00:07 to view).

The agenda item was submitted by Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, who told members of the Needles City Council that it’s about $200,000 a year for a bunch of overtime to give one deputy 24 hours and then the second deputy for 20 of 24 hours through overtime, plus there’s a patrol vehicle and startup cost.

According to the City of Needles, during the development of the 2021-22 Annual Operating Budget, the Sheriff’s Office requested an increase of $768,739 to add 80 patrol hours per week plus one marked patrol unit.

At the time, Needles City Council determined that the crime statistics didn’t warrant that level of increase.

Since that time, staff has continued discussions with the Sheriff’s Office and has jointly developed a proposal to increase the law enforcement funding by $200,000 to increase patrol to provide an additional 2,080 hours of overtime coverage annually whereby there would be two deputies on duty 20 hours a day and one deputy on duty 4 hours a day.

With this current proposal of overtime, we would add an additional patrol vehicle to ensure one is available for the additional staffing.

There has been an increase in aggravated assaults which creates an officer safety issue for deputies.

Violent crime has been on the rise and two full time deputies on duty at all times is a minimum standard for community safety.

We are also experiencing an increase in transports to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton for mental health issues and to West Valley Detention Center for arrestees with medical issues.

These long transports take deputies off patrol for extended periods of time which can leave the city uncovered.

The proposed overtime is only a temporary measure to ensure the safety of deputies and the community.

A long-term solution of adding two deputies and a vehicle to the contract is necessary.

Staff is also working on securing supplemental State funding from the law enforcement portion of the state marijuana taxes available only to communities that permit cannabis facilities.

Staff will seek funding to provide a full-time deputy.

Fiscal impact is $175,000 added to the police overtime line item (#101-2010-421.31-81) plus a patrol car estimated at $17,200 with a $2,500 startup cost for equipment to cover the remainder of the current fiscal year. Funding would come from the Marijuana Tax portion of the General Fund Reserve.

The recommended action is to approve a Budget Adjustment of $175,000 plus a patrol car estimated at $17,200 with a $2,500 startup cost for equipment for supplemental law enforcement services for the remainder of fiscal year 2021-22, funding to come from the Marijuana Tax portion of the General Fund Reserve; and authorize the mayor to sign an Amended Schedule A to the Twenty Fourth Amendment to Contract No. 99-376 with the County of San Bernardino adding an additional marked patrol unit to the Schedule.

*** Agenda Item Packet (PDF File Download): ***

cc-25-091421

Before voting on the agenda item, discussions on the supplemental law enforcement deputy staffing proposal were held.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Captain Ross Tarangle brought some clarification regarding the agenda item, saying that, “this is just for overtime money to fill a gap. Ideally positions need to be added to make that gap filling sustainable. Depending on overtime can sometimes be problematic as people get burned out daily overtime can sometimes be a chore to get people to sign up for so this was just a stopgap measure to provide for the security of the city.”

During discussions, some members of the Needles City Council spoke about their experience with crime in the community.

Needles City Council Member Zachery Longacre spoke about his vehicle getting broken into and items being stolen well Needles City Council Member Ellen A. Campbell spoke about a citizen asking to call for help of a person being beaten up at a local liquor store.

Well Needles City Mayor Jeff Williams said that crime is down in the community, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Captain Ross Tarangle spoke about an increase in aggravated assaults countywide, including in Needles, California.

“We’re encountering more and more violent people; aggravated assaults are up in the county, over 100%. Aggravated assaults are up in Needles, over the last 5 years, at 80%,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Captain Ross Tarangle.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Captain Ross Tarangle also spoke about local deputy assaults and what their deputies are encountering.

“We had deputy assaults in city of needles are up 400% over the last 5 years. We’re encountering more and more armed people; people with knives, people with guns. It’s an industry standard where some of these violent call you have to have at least two deputies response. It’s just like when somebody hits a power pole and the power goes down, you don’t just have one guy response to fix the power pole because there’s safety issues involved. Well you need more then one deputy to respond to a lot of these violet… potentially violent calls,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Captain Ross Tarangle.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Captain Ross Tarangle then spoke about local deputy dealing with people with mental health issues and what happens if a person needs treatment.

“Additional, there are more and more scrutiny on law enforcement to deal with people with mental health issues, a lot of times that requires additional personnel. When we have someone with mental health issue and they need treatment, we need to transport them to Colton Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, and that takes somebody off the streets for a day to get there and back,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Captain Ross Tarangle.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Captain Ross Tarangle said to members of the Needles City Council that these are some of the issues we are facing and and we need additional staffing to accomplish that and we need additional vehicle to make sure that we have a vehicle available to respond to those calls for service.

When asked by Needles City Mayor Jeff Williams about the chances we’re going to have to look into funding body cameras, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Captain Ross Tarangle said, “That is coming down the road. we’ve done studies department-wide on that and test department-wide, It’s got to the point now where it’s going to happen – probably next year, and so yeah those costs will have to be past on.”

At the end, members of the Needles City Council voted unanimously to approve the proposal; the Budget Adjustment of $175,000 plus a patrol car estimated at $17,200 with a $2,500 startup cost for equipment for supplemental law enforcement services for the remainder of fiscal year 2021-22, funding to come from the Marijuana Tax portion of the General Fund Reserve; and authorize the mayor to sign an Amended Schedule A to the Twenty Fourth Amendment to Contract No. 99-376 with the County of San Bernardino adding an additional marked patrol unit to the Schedule.

For more information, please contact Dale Jones, City Clerk at the City of Needles at: 1 (760) 326-2113.

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