Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wanted: New PD Digs (SB Sun 030907) Leaks, Mice, Plaque Rialto Police HQ!!

Wanted: New PD digs
Jason Pesick, Staff Writer
San Bernardino County Sun
Article Launched:03/09/2007 12:00:00 AM PST

RIALTO - The Police Department is a sight to behold. Boxes and old filing cabinets sit throughout the hallways. Records are kept in outdoor bunkers. Much of the staff works out of trailers. Mousetraps dot the dingy hallways.
"We've seriously outgrown this facility," police Capt. Raul Martinez said on a tour of the station Thursday.

That sentiment, which seemed to be shared by everyone Martinez ran into as he walked the police grounds, is not surprising coming from members of the rank and file.

But now the City Council agrees - only a year and a half after it voted to disband the Police Department and contract with the Sheriff's Department, a decision it later reversed - it's time for a new building.

At Tuesday night's council meeting, when Chief Mark Kling received approval for new vehicles, equipment and new paint and flooring for the current building, the council overwhelmingly declared support for a new building.

Councilman Ed Scott, who was among those who had voted to eliminate the Police Department, said he wants the council to decide to build a new station this year - prompting a chorus of support for the idea.

The current station was built about 35 years ago, when Rialto was a much smaller city. In the next 25 years, the city is expected to grow by 65 percent, to about 165,000 residents.

Records Supervisor Glenda Montgomery said records employees have to keep files under their desks. She also pointed out a number of makeshift records-storage areas, including a packed closet and a storage bunker in the parking lot employees have to run back and forth to.

"We do that every day," she said.

Rooms that used to be closets now serve as offices.

Police Cpl. Steven Mastaler said that in the winter he needs to install a floor heater in his office.

"I like it cold, but sometimes it's just too cold," he said.

The building also has leaks. Noretta Barker, a law-enforcement technician working in dispatch, said that when the holding cells upstairs flood, the water leaks into the dispatch area in the basement.

The drab facility also makes recruitment a challenge, Martinez said, and the Police Department is hiring both sworn and non-sworn employees.

The city is planning to raise money for a police facility. A study from October estimates the city will need $15million for an expansion of the police station, said Chief Financial Officer June Overholt. Much of that money will come from increasing development-impact fees, she said.

At a recent community meeting at the Rialto Senior Center, Kling, who started as chief a little more than six months ago, said he found the police facilities to be subpar when he took the post.

"If you're going to expect a professional department, then, you know what? It starts at home."

Contact writer Jason Pesick at (909) 386-3861 or via e-mail at

BS Ranch Perspective:

The Police Department has been looking to be rebuilt since I started there back in the late 1980's. Only they were looking at a design the size of the Station that currently is similar to that of Fontana's Main Police Station. Back then Chief Ray Farmer had placed a Ballot on the voter's plate to look at, for a 1/2 cent tax, to be added to the utilities to pay for the construction of a new Police Facility at the current Location where the Police Station stands. The City Council at the time took a small amount of land from the Lumber Yard that is located just to the West of the Police Station, by way of Imminent Domain. The Police Department Quickly fenced that area off and made it into an Employee Parking lot, which is where the Employee's Park today. The Driveway Apron that is located where the entrance to the West lot or the Rear of the Current Station was to be the entrance to the Underground Parking for the Police Units, and they were going to be able to place them all down there. the Prisoner's were all going to be loaded and unloaded into the station from a Secure Sally port, that would prevent escape or Lynching of a Prisoner, while you were taking them into the station from the scene of arrest or moving them from the station to transport them to Jail for booking.

The whole thing was going to be great, I mean Traffic would not have to be housed in a building down the street from the current station, and The Detectives would be on their own floor, but in the same building as the rest of the people that they work with! It would also house the C.A.U. Offices (Crime Analysis Unit's), along with purchasing and the Law Enforcement Tech.'s and Human Services, all in the same building, could you imagine that has not been that way since before 1987. It would be great and Rialto Police department would be more like a Police Station and not a Division of a major Police Agency.

BS Ranch!

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