Five Riverside County programs receive distinguished awards from statewide agency


RIVERSIDE – Riverside County received five prominent awards from the California State Association of Counties’ 2019 Challenge Awards. The county earned more awards than any other county in the state, including the Innovation Award, which was one of only two such awards given this year throughout the entire state.

“If you think county government isn’t innovative or resourceful, think again,” George Johnson, county executive officer, said. “This recognition by CSAC illustrates something that I’ve long known to be true – Riverside County is a creative place where ideas and solutions grow. I’m very proud of the programs that earned these well-deserved awards.”

The following program earned top honors:

Riverside University Health System-Behavioral Health received the California Counties Innovation Award for its behavioral health mobile crisis teams, which respond to law enforcement, emergency departments, schools, group homes and other locations where an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis. This award was only one of two such awards presented throughout the state.

Challenge Award was given to the county’s Southeast Drainage Challenge Improvement Project. Through a multiagency collaboration, the Waste Resources Department stabilized a landfill slope within a major water course, persevered habitat and reduced mitigation fees by $2 million to $4 million. This award was one of only five such awards presented among urban counties with large populations.

Riverside University Health System-Medical Center received a Merit Award for its correctional health care for reducing unnecessary emergency department visits, which achieved a 20% reduction in inmate emergency room visits by expanding the scope of jail medical practices, auditing transports, and educating medical and correctional staff.

The Department of Public Social Services received a Merit Award for enhancing the Homeless PIT Count through technology and collaboration. The annual Point-in-Time County used the Survey 123 app and partnered with the University of California Riverside to collect and analyze data on the county’s homeless population. The partnership resulted in improved data quality, accuracy and publication.

The Flood Control District received a Merit Award for leveraging technologies to manage post-wildfire debris flows. The district leveraged technology to plan for and respond to life-threatening post-wildfire debris flows and share vital information with other agencies to improve real-time communication.

For more information on these programs and the CSAC Challenge Awards, visit

Submitted by Riverside County.