Menifee City Council sees police department formation on schedule


The Menifee City Council heard a quarterly update on the formation of the new Menifee Municipal Police Department from consultant, retired Hemet police chief Dave Brown at its Wednesday, Sept. 18 meeting. Chief Pat Walsh could not present the report due to acute allergies that evening.

Brown said work on the police station, which was once the former city hall, is underway on a complete seismic retrofit of 1 1/2 more times higher than normal buildings and refitting the former AMR offices behind the city hall to make it an evidence room. Two new modular buildings will replace two others next to the new station for men and women’s locker rooms.

Police department recruiting continues, including background checks on two applicants for the two captain positions which should be announced next month and interviews which are scheduled for Oct. 1-2 for two police lieutenant positions. The department has also received 70 applications for sergeants which are under review.

About 200 applications have come in for the 58 officer positions needed. Recruitment billboards on Route 91 have gone up, announcing openings in the new police department and a social media campaign is soon to be unveiled.

Brown said the joint dispatch operation with the Murrieta Police Department is well underway, as meetings are ongoing with all the related communication, technology and electric companies and work has already started to secure funding for the expansion.

The department’s first four vehicles for the community service officers, Chevrolet Colorados, have arrived; all the other police vehicles are in production and on track for delivery. Those vehicles will include two Ford F-150s for rural use, three Dodge Durangos for field supervisors and 34 police cruisers.

He said that almost all the hiring and equipment for the new department has all been funded by Measure DD funds, and the department wanted to thank all the residents for their support.

The attendees heard the city’s annual Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report.

The city was allocated $551,093 in Community Development Block Grant matching funds from Housing and Urban Development. The grant allows the city to carry out a number of housing and community development programs that are targeted primarily to low-income households. Projects included housing rehabilitation, public facilities, infrastructure projects and public services.

The city allocated $1,127,246.47 for those projects but spent only $847,366.54 on projects like Habitat for Humanity, Operation School Bell, Emergency Food Distribution, Romoland Pedestrian/Sidewalk Improvements, Boys and Girls Club of Menifee Valley and the Scholarship/Learners Program for 6,216 low to moderate income residents more than the goal of 6,133 people.

The balance of the allocation can be carried over to the next year’s CDBG allotment.

The night’s agenda showed a discussion item requiring the council’s response to the state’s mandated housing element now required to overcome an acute housing shortage in California.

The staff and council opted to notify the Regional Housing Need Allocation that the city has room to construct up to 5,248 new units for all income ranges in the next 10 years.

California mandates that each local jurisdiction in California is required to adopt a housing element as part of its general plan that shows how the community plans to meet its existing and projected housing needs for people at all income levels within their jurisdiction.

Southern California Association of Governments was assigned to draft a methodology to distribute the six-county regional need for approximately 1,344,740 new housing units in the next decade. SCAG came up with three options for each of the cities in its jurisdiction, including Menifee, to meet the need.

The council, following a presentation by community development director Cheryl R. Kitrow, agreed with the staff opinion that SCAG’s second option of 5,248 units is best suited for Menifee, as it would require the least amount of new RHNA units and the least impact from the land use and zoning amendments that will be required during the adoption of the 2021-2029 housing element update.

It was noted that Murrieta, Menifee’s nearest neighbor opted to choose SCAG’s third option to construct 15,329 new units.

The Menifee’s choice was forwarded to SCAG for their review Monday, Sept. 23, by staff.

In the earlier session, the council proclaimed Oct. 2, as “Clean Air Day,” and Oct. 4, as “Manufacturing Day.” They proclaimed the week of Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week.

Evans Brown Mortuary in Menifee was the chosen for Menifee’s Business Spotlight of the Month for their services to the community. A video recognizing the honor was presented.

The Rev. Jeff Johnson of the Menifee Impact Church gave the word of inspiration for the meeting.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at