By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews)
Source: Needles City Clerk Dale Jones (Information and Agenda Item Packet)
Needles, California: Members of the Needles City Council on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022 voted unanimously approving a contract with County of San Bernardino to provide law enforcement services by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to the City of Needles.
The discussion and vote occurred during the regular meeting of the Needles City Council held on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022 inside the Needles City Council Chambers, and the agenda item was broadcast live at ZachNews on Facebook which you can view all what was stated during the meeting unedited.
According to information from the Needles City Clerk’s Office, each year, the City Council must approve an amendment to the contract with the County to provide for a level of law enforcement services.
The attached Amendment and Schedule A reflects an amount of $3,369,365, a $251,976 increase over the current amended contract, to maintain law enforcement services status quo as of January 1, 2022.
For purposes of budgeting, this amount has been included in the 2022-2023 fiscal year budget. As noted on Schedule A, personnel costs are subject to change by Board of Supervisors’ action and any changes will be billed to the city on a quarterly basis.
There has been discussion with Captain Tarangle on the possibility of increasing the city’s contract services by an additional 40 patrol hours per week.
The Sheriff has provided a second proposed Schedule A increasing costs by $387,353 to cover the additional cost – total of $3,756,718.
As Council will note, this increase will include not only the additional 40 patrol hours but an increase in the positions of lieutenant, sergeant, office specialist, HT, general county services, and startup cost.
Staff is seeking Council direction as to the level of law enforcement services for next fiscal year.
As for any fiscal impact to note, the City of Needles states that contract costs to come from #101-2010-421.31-80 for a total budget of $3,277,772.
Not included are overtime costs and vehicle fuel and maintenance which are billed quarterly.
$91,593 of the total contract costs will be charged to #225-2010-421.31-80 (COPS) to cover the costs of the sheriff’s service specialist which is shared 50/50 with the School District.
According to information from the Needles City Clerk’s Office, the recommendation for members of the Needles City Council is to approve the Twenty Sixth Amendment to Contract No. 99-376 with the County of San Bernardino in the total amount of $3,369,365 providing for law enforcement services by amending Schedule A for the 2022-2023 fiscal year and authorize the Mayor to sign same, and provide direction as to additional services.
The agenda item was submitted by Rick Daniels, Needles City Manager.
*** Agenda Packet Information (PDF File Download): ***
As discussion and questions regarding this agenda item began, questions were asked to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station Captain Ross Tarangle about crime status and patrol vehicles driving around and park in certain areas.
Captain Ross Tarangle told members of the Needles City Council that call volumes on crime reports have gone up in the city and that arrest have gone up.
“What we have seen throughout the county and from the crime status from last year (2021) was an increase in violent crimes; aggravated assaults. To me that this a significant thing. You know Part 2 Crimes – your low level thefts – they changed a lot of laws, you can hardly compare those crimes, but the crimes that really do affect people – crimes of violence – are the things that concerns me, not only for the community but for the deputies who are responding to those. Violent crime rate in Needles is very high, and in fact I can tell you per capita it’s the most highest… has the highest violent crime rate in the County of San Bernardino per capita,” said Captain Ross Tarangle.
Captain Ross Tarangle later noted for members of the Needles City Council that last year’s year-end report from the Federal Bureau of Investigations is where the stated crime rates status come from, and those are the latest violent crime rate status for the city.
Needles City Council Member Ellen Campbell praised the department increase of patrols, stating that she received many phone calls from the community asking why there are patrol vehicles going up and down the streets concerned that something was going on.
Captain Ross Tarangle told Needles City Council Member Ellen Campbell that this is one of the goals; visibility patrols.
Captain Ross Tarangle added that deputies being out in the field, not in the office with deputies working out of their vehicles while their patrolling, including working on reports.
“We want them in the field so they can respond rapidly to different parts of town. We don’t want them sitting around in the office all day long, and they don’t. They work out of their cars, their cars are their offices. That’s why they’re out in the field, parking in different locations,” said Captain Ross Tarangle.
Needles City Council Member Ellen Campbell said that the presence of the vehicles going up and down the streets are duly noted and are very appreciated.
Captain Ross Tarangle told members of the Needles City Council that the extra deputy that the Needles City Council approved previously, helped increase patrols at Santa Fe Park and relieve some of the problems there.
“We want to create a high agree of visibility in town for the safety of our citizens and so that why we want to be able to have those opportunities to drive through the neighborhoods and talk to people, and our deputies do that,” said Captain Ross Tarangle.
After discussions and questioning, Needles City Council Member Tona Belt said, “I’ll motion to keep it as A at this point; the 1.5 officers,” which members of the Needles City Council voted unanimously approved.
Clarification by the City of Needles confirms that the contract with the County of San Bernardino (Contract No. 99-376) to provide law enforcement services was approved by Council.
Needles City Manager Rick Daniels tells ZachNews that “the Council unanimously voted to accept the budget at the same staffing as this year,” and that “the cost increase for the same officer coverage went up $246,246, but will consume 55% of our budget.”
The people in the small desert community by the Colorado River hope that crime goes down, and that deputies continue to be present out in the public to help prevent crime as well as respond more faster to crime calls.
For more information, please contact Dale Jones, City Clerk at the City of Needles at: 1 (760) 326-2113.