As part of new amendments to the ambulance service contract between the Idyllwild Fire Protection District and Riverside County, IFPD is required to install mobile data computers (MDC) in its vehicles within one year.

The equipment must also be purchased. Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone gave the fire department $20,000 in November 2010 to help offset the cost of purchasing this equipment. Two months later, former Chief Norm Walker asked the commission at that time to approve $15,000 to complete the purchase of this equipment.

However, Interim Chief Mike Sherman reports that the equipment has never been acquired and does not know what happened to the funds.

“I suspect Norm [Walker, former IFPD Chief] had his reasons on why the MDC’s were not purchased. The only history I received was from CAL FIRE who relayed to me that they gave Norm a quote and he said it was too high. I haven’t confirmed that as being a valid comment, but that was what I was told. The $20,000 was not spent and will now be spent for MDC’s as was the original intent,” Sherman wrote in an email last week.

Riverside County Fire Chief John Hawkins confirms IFPD met with his staff and discussed the equipment and its price, but never returned with a specific request or order.

Sherman does not know the current cost for the equipment but it will have to come out of a budget that is already tight.

None of the current IFPD commissioners responded to an email about how this equipment will be funded or how the county money was used.