New Menifee Police Department Plans to Create A ‘Positive, Hardworking Culture’
Menifee, one of California’s fastest growing cities, is launching its own police department. By 2020, the city of nearly 100,000 residents will be policed by a local force rather than the county sheriff’s department.
Right now, the new department has one employee: Chief Pat Walsh. The veteran leader with 35+ years of law enforcement experience says building a force from the ground up will come with challenges, but creating a department culture isn’t one of them.
“We get the privilege of creating our own culture,” Walsh said in an interview. “When officers transfer to different departments, there’s already an established culture and it’s hard to change that culture once it’s in place. We get to start from scratch, and we’re going to do it right.”
The vision for Menifee’s new police department culture
The culture of Menifee’s first police force is something Walsh has given a lot of thought.
“From day one, our police department will have an inclusive, positive, and hardworking culture,” Walsh said.
Creating this kind of culture will rely heavily on recruiting the right officers and staff members for the force.
Over the next year, Walsh will hire 58 sworn officers and 17 civilian staff members, and he has specific characteristics in mind for each of these positions.
“Aside from experience, I’m looking for officers who believe their job makes a difference, who can problem solve, and who will engage with the community.”
Walsh wants to see the department build a partnership with the community, where officers take an active role in the everyday lives of residents.
“I want to see officers get out of their patrol car and play basketball with kids, talk with concerned citizens at neighborhood meetings, and get to know local business owners,” Walsh said.
As applications roll in, Walsh says he’ll be on the lookout for characteristics that will contribute to this healthy, positive culture.
The short history of the Menifee police department
As mentioned, Menfiee has experienced rapid population growth in the last few years. Its growth was the main reason city officials started to explore the idea of its own police force.
Before that, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department handled law enforcement in the city. When it came time for the city to renew its contract with the sheriff’s department in 2018, city officials decided it was time to create its own police force.
Menifee’s city manager likened the situation to a teenager moving out of a parent’s home. The city didn’t divorce the sheriff’s department and leave on bad terms, it was just time for the growing city to make a change.
Over the past year, city officials have taken steps to secure funding, gather input from the community, and hired Walsh as the city’s first police chief.
Now, the hiring process is underway with plans to have the department operational by July 2020.
How to apply
Applications are currently being accepted for all sworn positions. Applications for professional civil positions will open at the beginning of the new year, January 2020. To learn more about joining the Menifee police department, including schedules, benefits, and retirement packages, visit the Meniffe Police Department website.