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Municipal Services


An abundance of services is provided through the city’s council/city manager government, which includes a five-person council chosen through a general election, a council-selected mayor and the city’s operational departments.

Maintaining a high level of safety for residents and visitors is a top priority for the Sierra Madre Police Department. The law enforcement agency continues to oversee one of the lowest crime rates in California, with a combination of sworn, full-time officers and reserve volunteers. In addition to having one of the fastest response times in Los Angeles County and patrolling the area to ensure safe neighborhoods, the Police Department hosts a number of programs designed to educate the public on preventing crimes and other community-oriented programs. The mission of the Police Department is to become a model for 21st century small-town policing.

The City’s Fire Department is the only remaining volunteer department in Los Angeles County. Personnel respond to hundreds of emergency fire and medical calls each year in Sierra Madre, as well as calls for assistance in neighboring communities as part of California’s statewide mutual-aid program. The Department is known for providing prompt, skillful and cost-effective fire protection, fire prevention, emergency medical and life safety services.

Public Works Department is dedicated to providing quality customer service to residents and businesses. The Department provides for the design, construction, management and maintenance of the City’s infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks and pathways, parks, creeks, sewers and storm drains, buildings and structures, vehicles and equipments, street lights and traffic signals and Sierra Madre’s own water system. They also oversee storm water pollution prevention efforts.


The Community & Personnel Services Department is in charge of a myriad of activities. The Department provides a comprehensive, year-round recreational activity program for residents of all ages and is the focal point for residents seeking information and referral on community activities. Department members are committed to the slogan “Get Out and Get Active” and by overseeing the Sierra Madre Aquatic Center, the Youth Activity Center, Community Recreation Center, senior programming, special events, filming, arts, and transportation on top of the general recreational activities, they are helping build a healthy community through people, parks and programs. This department also manages all the personnel services for those employees serving in the City of Sierra Madre.

The Development Services Department provides professional planning services with complete and efficient review and coordination of all commercial, industrial, single family, and multi-family residential developments; subdivisions; signs; conditional use permit and variance requests; and ordinance reviews. Staff members work to protect and enhance the City’s natural and manmade environment, economic base, neighborhoods and wildlife. Through its various divisions (such as Planning, Zoning and Building & Safety), the department strives to ensure a safe, inclusive and livable community.

Serving the public since 1907, the Sierra Madre Public Library is home to more than 65,000 books, magazines, audio books, music CDs, videos and DVDs. Through grants, the library has been equipped with internet computers, is wired for laptop use, and has acquired access to an extensive catalog of electronic versions of printed books known as “eBooks.” Powerful online search engines provide the staff and public with instant access to the latest internet reference sources, including ReferenceUSA and BusinessDecision Pro, which specialize in information relevant to the business community. Access to these licensed databases and other resources are sponsored by the Friends of the Sierra Madre Library, a group that raises funds for library materials, equipment and programs by sponsoring monthly used book sales, an annual Wine Tasting and a juried Fine Arts Fair featuring local artisans and crafters.

The library regularly hosts educational and cultural programs, including computer classes, Children’s Story Time, a Teen Book Club and Summer Reading Program for local youth, and Travelers and Collectors, an “armchair travelers” series popular with seniors. A special grant enabled the library to dedicate space and hire an archive specialist to develop the Sierra Madre Historical Archives Collection, which has grown into a much-respected research collection. The library’s services are further enhanced through its membership in the Metropolitan Cooperative Library System (MCLS), an association of libraries from 32 jurisdictions in the greater Los Angeles area. The library of the 21st century offers so much more than “just books.” Drop in, get a card and see what the Sierra Madre Library can do for you!

The community is also home to the world-renowned Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team, a wilderness and mountain rescue team that has been in operation for more than 50 years. The all-civilian group of volunteers is supported through voluntary donations, and has all the necessary equipment to perform search and rescue missions throughout L.A. County’s many wilderness and mountainous areas. Its motto, “Anywhere in the wilderness someone needs help,” holds true, as the team has responded to calls from as far as away as the state of New York.

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