Since 1968, the City of Indian Wells has contracted police services from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The County provides much of the region’s law enforcement services through ten stations that stretch from the Colorado River in the east to Norco, Corona and Wildomar in the west. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is contracted by 18 of 29 cities in Riverside County.
Contracting police work through the County allows Indian Wells access to the resources of the larger Sheriff’s Department while maintaining the ability to select what type and degree of services best meet the needs of the community. For example, the City has access to County resources such as homicide investigators, aerial surveillance, search and rescue and SWAT teams to name a few. While it would be extremely costly to employ and maintain these services through the City itself, by contracting with the Sheriff’s Department, the City only pays its proportionate user costs. The contract in place with the County ensures that sworn officers patrol the streets of Indian Wells 24 hours a day.
One such patrolling Indian Wells officer is Lieutenant Justin Rowan, a native of Riverside County, who has been in law enforcement for 23 years. A sworn police officer since 1999, Rowan’s interest in law enforcement began at the age of five when he was introduced to a police officer. From then on, he knew he wanted to be a police officer, too.
“I enjoy helping people when they are in need,” said Rowan. “The job is deeply gratifying when you’ve provided justice to a victim or when you’ve positively changed the course of someone’s life.”
Rowan’s career began as a community service officer (CSO) with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1995. Since then, his career has taken him to cities throughout the region including Temecula, Perris, Canyon Lake, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley and Norco. His experience includes being assigned to the Southwest Corridor Narcotics Task Force, selection as a Department field training officer and work as a recruit training officer for the extended Sheriff’s Academy.
Today, as the Assistant Chief of Police for the City of Indian Wells, Lt. Rowan supervises a total of 12 subordinates including a sergeant, deputies and CSOs who work together to keep the neighborhoods of Indian Wells safe.
“CSOs write police reports for non-emergency incidents, investigate traffic collisions, transport prisoners to jail and conduct high visibility patrols in neighborhoods and business districts. The assistance provided by CSOs allows our sworn police officers to be more readily available to respond to emergencies and conduct proactive enforcement. Sworn officers are on duty and available to respond to emergencies in the City of Indian Wells 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Rowan explained.
When asked what he likes most about the City of Indian Wells, Rowan said he “enjoy[s] the small-town feel, the resort lifestyle and low crime rate. Mostly, I enjoy working with the wonderful residents who are very friendly and supportive of their officers.”
Rowan currently resides in Riverside with his wife of 14 years and two children. In his spare time, he enjoys boating, hunting, traveling and spending time with his family.