Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Armored Vehicle Bulks Up Rebuilding Rialto Police Department (Press Enterprise)

Armored vehicle bulks up rebuilding Rialto police department

10:00 PM PDT on Monday, May 28, 2007
The Press-Enterprise

Rialto officials say they want to send a clear message to the city's Police Department: you are here to stay and we support you.

The Rialto City Council's latest effort to convey the message came in the form of an 8-ton, diesel-powered, bullet-resistant BearCat armored vehicle.

The $215,000 vehicle is the first of two components, said Chief Mark Kling. In July, the department will receive a large communications vehicle that will be deployed with the BearCat, he said.

Story continues below
Greg Vojtko / The Press-Enterprise
Rialto Police officers look over a new BearCat armored vehicle. They will use it to serve high-risk search warrants and for the SWAT team. The City Council sees the purchase as a sign of support.

"Planning and preparation are the two keys to success and we are acquiring the tools necessary in the event a catastrophe occurs," Kling said.

The communications vehicle will be equipped with televisions, fax machines, telephones and other such equipment, Kling said.

The council's agreement to purchase the vehicles speaks volumes of its commitment to the department, Kling said.

"We are getting the type of equipment and support that we need to rebuild our police department into the premier department it was," he said.

The council voted 4-1 in September 2005 to disband the Police Department because of what the members said were chronic problems. The council had planned to contract with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department for Rialto's law enforcement.

In March 2006 the City Council ended its attempt to disband the department because the effort seemed hopelessly stalled and it appeared the issue could be taken out of their hands and put to a citywide vote.

Councilwoman Winnie Hanson said once the decision was made to retain the department, the council's support has been complete.

"The council and Police Department went through a greatly painful situation and we are now moving forward with an enthusiastic push of support," Hanson said. "If we are going to have a police department we don't want them to be understaffed or under-equipped."

Sgt. Jim Kurkoske said the BearCat has done wonders for the morale of the SWAT team, to which the vehicle is assigned.

"Knowing the council approved a $215,000 piece of equipment shows they and the city have confidence in our department and that we will be around," Kurkoske said.

The SWAT team has been using an armored vehicle donated by a bank several years ago, Chief Kling said.

The Colton Police Department purchased an armored vehicle in 2006 with asset-seizure funds for about $200,000. The Palm Springs department purchased a Lenco BearCat armored vehicle for a little more than $200,000 the same year.

Although the Colton Police Department has promised to lend its armored vehicle to neighboring agencies, Kling said it benefits Rialto residents and the department to have its own vehicle.

The vehicle was purchased with developmental impact fees, said Kirby Warner, assistant city administrator.

Reach Massiel Ladrón De Guevara at 909-806-3054 or mdeguevara@PE.com


BS Ranch Perspective:

I was looking at this machine that the City Council spent some $215,000.00 dollars for and the Title of this story that the City Council is working to Rebuild the Rialto Police Department, after the whole Vote Against the Police Department, and the Contract with the San Bernardino Sheriff Department.  I Look at the Parking lot at the Sidney A. Jones Building and I notice one thing, that back in 1990 the Police Department was out grown the Facilities that they were in. When I had started I was Changing into my Uniform in the Hallway, blocked only by a dress blind so that the woman of the department that were walking by didn't get to see if we were Tight White Underwear or The Boxer Shorts when it came to our underwear, back then the Boxer Brief were not made just yet!

Well, we tried back then to get a deal passed to get a grant passed by the voters to get a new station financed however We were unable to get it passed. So in stead of getting a new station they realized that they could afford a modular, or temporary Office building, and it has been there along side the station since 1990. The Investigations Modular Office Space came in 1991 or 1992. Now, they are moving another modular Building into the parking lot against the modular building known as Rialto Investigations.

When is the City Council really going to wake up and say that they are really going to take care of the Police Department, and take them out of the Almost 20 year Apartment Buildings (known as Modular, Temporary Office Space) and Build them that Police Station that they were planning to build back in 1990, Which by now will have to be re designed since the department will have to allow for a City that will have a Population of close to 200,000 thousand people in it when they get all the land that they are due and the Airport Renaissance is all done, then they will need that new station.

The SWAT Truck, Will Save lives, but they will not handle calls for service with that piece of equipment. If you were to go to each officer and ask them if they wanted a SWAT BearCat Armored Vehicle or a brand new Police Station let me see which one that they will answer!!

Lets Take Care of the Patrol Officers. The Swat Team could have continued to have used that Armored Vehicle that they had already that the hardly used. Please Don't get me wrong, That Bear Cat is nice, but there are only about 12 to 20 Officer's that will be able to drive that truck. The rest of the Officers will only be able to drive Patrol Cars. There are only two or three that are allowed to Drive the Motor Home Command Post Vehicle that they purchased some six years ago. I have seen the Command Post (Motor Home) Used by City Hall more then by the Police department. But that doesn't mean that they don't use it on call outs at night and the like. I am just saying that they are not using their spending sense wisely, they need to do something to get a police station that everyone is housed in, Give the City some pride.

BS Ranch

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