A story was published in the Citrus Heights Sentinel recently about the City of Citrus Heights helping the City of Menifee form its own police force. Menifee, in Riverside County, incorporated in 2008. Almost as soon as it was formed the state messed with the city’s budget by taking away its ability - along with that of three other Riverside County cities that incorporated around that time - to collect property taxes from motor vehicle licenses, a revenue stream available to all other cities in California. Eventually the state relented and gave the four newest cities access to equivalent funds (but refused to empower any other cities going forward). Once made whole, Menifee used some of its creative energy to invest in local priorities, one of which was improving its local law enforcement situation. Like Citrus Heights, the City had been contracting with the local Sheriff’s office for law enforcement services. After a while, Citrus Heights successfully shifted over to having its own police force. Menifee has now also formed its own police force, with guidance from Citrus Heights on how to do it. By having its own police force, Menifee will be saving $3.6M a year while getting 210 patrol hours of service vs. the 120 hours it got from the Sheriff. That’s huge. It’s also consistent with Citrus Heights’ own experience.
What can this tell us about law enforcement in Arden Arcade? With a population of 92,000, Menifee is about the same size as Arden Arcade. So it would be reasonable to expect similar results if Arden Arcade had its own local police force. But, of course, we don’t have our own police force. Arden Arcade is not a city, just one of Sacramento County’s unincorporated communities. And, while we respect the hard-working Deputies assigned to our community, we are stuck with our Sheriff, bless his heart. And his helicopter. And his price tag. This cannot ever change as long as our community is an unincorporated non-entity, invisible within the vast UnCity of Sacramento County. Meanwhile, Menifee and Citrus Heights get more for less. They are cities, you see.