Riverside County Sheriff's Department

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Riverside County Sheriff's Department
Common name Riverside Sheriff's Office
Abbreviation RCSD, RSD, RSO, RCSO
Patch of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.png
Patch of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department
Badge of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.png
Badge of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department
Flag of Riverside County, California.png
Flag of Riverside County, California
Agency overview
Formed May 9, 1893
Annual budget $502 million
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* County (US) of Riverside in the state of California, United States
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Riverside, California
Stations 12
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department (RCSD or RSD), also known as the Riverside Sheriff's Office (RSO or RCSD), is a law enforcement agency in Riverside County, in the U.S. state of California. Overseen by an elected sheriff-coroner, the department serves unincorporated areas of Riverside County as well as some of the incorporated cities in the county by contract (see contract city). 17 of the county's 26 cities, with populations ranging from 4,958 to 193,365, contract with the department for police services. The county hospital and one tribal community also contract with the department for proactive policing. Riverside County is home to 12 federally recognized Indian reservations. Absent proactive policing and traffic enforcement, the department is responsible for enforcing criminal law on all Native American tribal land within the county. This function is mandated by Public Law 280, enacted in 1953, which transferred the responsibility of criminal law enforcement on tribal land from the federal government to specified state governments including California. The department also operates the county's jail system.

In addition to performing law enforcement and corrections roles, the department performs the functions of the coroner's office and marshal's office. In its coroner function, the department is responsible for recovering deceased persons within the county and conducting autopsies. When California reorganized its judicial system in the early 21st century and eliminated state marshal's offices, the department assumed responsibility for state courts within the county, providing court security and service of warrants and court processes. The department also provides services such as air support, special weapons teams for high risk critical incidents, forensics services and crime laboratories, homicide investigations, and academy training to smaller law enforcement agencies within the county and in surrounding counties.


Riverside County was created from portions of San Bernardino and San Diego Counties on May 9, 1893. In the early history of the county, the sheriff's office was a one-person operation. As the county grew in population, so too did the department, eventually transforming into a modern full-service law enforcement agency.

The department made national headlines on May 9, 1980, when five men armed with shotguns, an assault rifle, handguns, and an improvised explosive device robbed the Norco branch of Security Pacific Bank. Since dubbed the "Norco shootout", deputies responding to the bank robbery call, armed only with their pistols, confronted the perpetrators outside the bank and a prolonged gun battle and subsequent vehicle pursuit ensued. The aftermath of the incident left 33 patrol cars damaged or completely destroyed, one sheriff's helicopter shot down, three robbers imprisoned for life, two robbers dead, eight sheriff's deputies wounded, and one deputy killed in the line of duty.[1]

In 2013, the department again made headlines by arresting a special needs student who was allegedly entrapped by an undercover officer.[2]

Today the Riverside County Sheriff's Department is responsible for 7,303 square miles, spreading almost 200 miles in length, and embracing approximately 50 miles in width.[3] This territory constitutes the third largest county in the state of California and is roughly the size of the state of New Jersey in total area. Vast changes have occurred in Riverside County since its inception. The population, having increased from 13,745 in 1893, to more than 2,189,641 in 2010, ranks it fourth in population among California's counties behind Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties respectively.[4] Expanding to keep up with the county's explosive growth, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department is now the second-largest sheriff's department and third largest police agency in California, with a staff of over 4,500.[5][6]

County jail system[edit]

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department operates the county's jail system. The Riverside County Jail provides short-term incarceration services for the county, jailing subjects arrested and charged with felony crimes pending their court disposition as well as those convicted of misdemeanor crimes and sentenced to less than one year of incarceration. Services also include transportation of prisoners if necessary related to court appearances, and transferring prisoners between jurisdictions such as other counties, states, or the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Jails are staffed by fully sworn deputy sheriffs as well as specialized correctional deputies. The county's jail system consists of the Robert Presley Detention Center (RPDC)[7] in downtown Riverside,[8] the Southwest Detention Center (SWDC) in French Valley near Murrieta, the Larry Smith Correctional Facility (SCF) in Banning, the Indio Jail, and the Blythe Jail.

The Riverside County Jail (RCJ) was renamed RPDC in 1989[9] with the completion of a new, modern jail facility across the street from the original jail. The "Old Jail" was originally constructed in 1933 and was built as part of the old historic courthouse annex. In 1963, an addition was made to the jail, which included dormitory style housing units, a dispensary, detox cell, segregation cells, visiting area, and business office. In 1979, the county expanded the female section of the jail. The "Old Jail" was closed in 2011.


The Riverside Sheriff's Academy is located at the Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center (BCTC) near the March Air Reserve Base. Sheriff's academy training at BCTC is standardized and certified by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). Trainees receive a minimum of 24 weeks of intensive training.[10] The county's municipal police departments as well as other regional law enforcement agencies utilize the department's academy to train their cadets/trainees as well. Upon successful completion of the academy, graduating Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Trainees also receive additional detention-specific training at the academy if they will be going to a jail posting for their first assignment (regardless of first assignment, all Sheriff's Deputies must eventually go to patrol if they wish to advance in rank/special assignment).

BCTC is also the location of the sheriff's corrections and dispatch academies.[11][12] In addition, BCTC provides ongoing advanced career training for the department and surrounding agencies.[13]

BCTC is a public safety training center jointly operated by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the Riverside County Fire Department in cooperation with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the California State Fire Marshall, the California Highway Patrol, and Riverside Community College.

Contract cities served[edit]

Also serves the Riverside County Regional Medical Center (contract fulfilled through the Moreno Valley Station), the Morongo Indian Reservation (contract fulfilled through the Cabazon Station), and the De Luz Community Services District (contract fulfilled through the Southwest Station).

Current and past sheriffs[edit]

Sheriffs have included:[14]

  • Stanley Sniff 2007–present
  • Bob Doyle 2003-2007
  • Larry Smith 1994-2002
  • Cois Byrd 1986-1994
  • Bernard Clark 1963-1986
  • Joe Rice 1952-1963
  • Carl Rayburn 1931-1952
  • Clemens Sweeters 1924-1931
  • Sam Ryan 1923-1924
  • Frank Wilson 1907-1923
  • P.M. Coburn 1899-1907
  • W.B. Johnson 1895-1899
  • Fred Swope 1893-1895

Organizational structure[edit]

The following represents the organization of the RCSD:[15][16]


  • Coroner & Courts
  • Corrections
  • Field Operations
  • Support & Administration

Ranking structure and insignias[edit]

Title Insignia
4 Gold Stars.svg
3 Gold Stars.svg
Assistant Sheriff
2 Gold Stars.svg
Chief Deputy
1 Gold Star.svg
Captain insignia gold.svg
US-O1 insignia.svg
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Sergeant Rank Chevrons.svg
There are four ranks as part of the Career Investigator Program: Investigator I, Investigator II (Senior Investigator), Investigator III (Lead Investigator), and Investigator IV (Master Investigator).
Deputy Sheriff No Insignia There are three Deputy Sheriff grades (currently used only for pay grade identification): Deputy Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff A (possesses CA intermediate POST certificate), and Deputy Sheriff B (possesses CA advanced POST certificate).


  • Administrative Services
  • Coroner & Courts
  • Corrections
  • East Field Operations
  • Professional Standards
  • Public Information Office
  • Special Operations
  • Support Services
  • West Field Operations


Other facilities[edit]

  • Aviation
  • Coroner/Public Administrator
  • Ben Clark Training Center
  • Dispatch Center
  • Sheriff's Administration
  • Special Investigations Bureau

See also[edit]


External links[edit]