The police station in Perris forms the hub from which law enforcement flows throughout western Riverside County.
Operated by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the station directly across Perris Boulevard from City Hall serves three incorporated cities—Perris, Canyon Lake and Menifee—and large areas of unincorporated communities.
Deputies assigned to the station confront a wide variety of environments from urban and industrial to rural and agricultural. They investigate major crimes, traffic wrecks, work off-road vehicle enforcement, thefts of irrigation piping and associated vandalism to farmland, crop theft.
In addition, the Perris base also serves as the headquarters for regional drug and gang task forces. The Riverside County Coroner’s Department and forensics bureau operate out of Perris, as does a troop of Mounted Posse.
The sheriff’s dive team also calls Perris home and the station’s helipad serves as a backup landing and take-off spot for law-enforcement helicopters.
Sheriff’s Capt. Brandon Ford serves as Perris Police Chief. The station’s service area reaches nearly to Lake Elsinore on the west, Hemet to the east, Moreno Valley and Riverside to the north and Murrieta to the south.
“This is a happening place for a lot of reasons,” Ford said. “The Perris station is right in the center of the action. Interstate 215 runs right through our service area and the population on both sides of the freeway is about equal. We’ve got a massive area to provide and protect—both urban areas and rural areas.”
He said the Perris station’s diverse demographics, geography and variety of challenges requires a nimble, experienced and savvy force. Thankfully, the City is blessed with patrol officers and detectives who fit that bill.
Ford said the “breadth and depth of experience Perris detectives is phenomenal,” noting that investigators in the City have expertise in narcotics, gang-suppression, homicide and internal affairs.
Keeping the peace
The ranks of experienced Perris law officers doesn’t just include detectives and investigators.
Patrol officers like Max Madgaleno use their experience and savvy while working the streets on a daily basis. Magdaleno said he enjoys working Perris because calls for service are varied and require him to use his personal as well as professional skills.
“Every day is different,” he said.
On a recent patrol shift, Magdaleno, an eight-year sheriff’s deputy, responded to a landlord/tenant dispute. The landlord said her tenant threatened her verbally and made her feel unsafe in her own residence. Then Magdaleno spoke to the tenant, who said his landlord owed him money for providing care for her elderly father.
The dispute turned out to be a civil matter that was resolved when the landlord indicated she would begin eviction proceedings.
Other calls included responding to a ringing alarm at Perris High School, the result of an unsecured door in the counseling office. Magdaleno also took a report of stolen wallet from a distribution center, which turned out to be a non-incident. The wallet was returned to the owner with nothing missing. He also took a report from a possible victim of identity theft who said he received a bill for hospital services he never used.
Magdaleno responded with another officer to Foss Field Park on a report of a disturbance, possibly caused by a woman with emotional problems. The pair talked to the woman, who did not want to be helped and left the area.
All in a day’s work, he said.
“A pretty typical afternoon,” Magdaleno said.
Great relationship between City, cops
The City of Perris, like many communities in Southern California, spends the lion’s share of its budget on police, fire and emergency medical services. Ford, the Perris police chief and sheriff’s captain, said that investment buys a “very robust police presence in Perris.”
That presence is bolstered by what Ford called a “really good relationship between this department and the City of Perris.”
The solidarity began when Ford assumed the reins of the Perris station in 2015. It included meeting with Mayor Daryl Busch, City Manager Richard Belmudez and the other four members of the City Council. It is strengthened through support of events like the City’s annual health fair and National Night Out.
Ford noted that 2016 marks the 20th anniversary since the sheriff’s department assumed law enforcement services in Perris, succeeding the former Perris Police Department, which was disbanded in the wake of a severe budget crisis. He called working for Perris a privilege.
“It is an absolute honor to work here,” Ford said. “This department and Perris elected officials and administrators appreciate each other’s commitment to this City.”