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Regional Approach Adds Officers
Big changes are coming in the policing of Riverbank. Starting within the past week, more deputies are based at the local station. There are more officers coming and going on the streets. Response times should be quicker whether for emergencies or routine calls. Soon, the station counter will remain open to the public into the evenings.

The changes in town stem from a "decentralization" and new regional approach to law enforcement under which the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department is moving deputies and support staff out of the Modesto headquarters and basing them in several police stations around the county to control areas outside the cities.

Riverbank is the first contract city chosen to implement the plan. Chief of Police Tim Beck with another lieutenant, Bill Pooley, will oversee the Ninth Area Command that stretches from the Stanislaus to the Tuolumne rivers and between Albers and Dale roads.

"The idea is to provide more efficient policing by spreading our forces over the 1,500 square miles we control instead of centralizing them in Modesto," Beck said.

Deputies will start and finish their shifts at the regional stations instead of reporting in Modesto and driving to their assigned area.

"We're putting our personnel into the areas they serve. The deputy will already be there. There's no travel time involved so they can provide a more rapid response," Beck added.

Other cities that contract with the Sheriff's Department for police protection and where the department has stations are expected to follow suit. Patterson is due for the changeover in December and Waterford within a year and a half.

There are no changes in the total numbers of deputies involved or the nature of their work, just in their distribution.

"There are advantages and byproducts for the city," said Beck.