A Message from former Sheriff William B. Kolender
This year, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is foregoing the
usual Annual Report format. Rather, I would like to provide an overview
of this department’s accomplishments through an on-line message format.
The challenges which face the global economic community also affect law
enforcement, and this is why I have decided to spare the expense and
time of publishing an Annual Report, and share our accomplishments with
The following narrative will demonstrate the many noteworthy
initiatives worked and completed by our five bureaus in 2008. For
example, in the fall of 2008, San Diego County received $5.5 million
from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, under the Operation
Stonegarden Grant Program. This grant provides additional resources to
local law enforcement so we can more effectively prevent and suppress
border-related crimes with our state and federal partners. In the first
six weeks of the grant, more than 950 traffic stops were conducted, 330
citations were written, 34 arrests were made, 11 seizures of contraband
occurred - primarily of illegal drugs, and nearly $50,000 was seized.
Californians passed Proposition 69, the DNA Initiative, to put
forensic DNA to work to solve crimes. Critical to the initiative’s
success was the collection of DNA samples from those convicted of
felonies. Beginning November of 2004, when the new law went into effect,
deputies of the Detentions Services Bureau (DSB)
began collecting DNA samples and sending them to the State
Department of Justice so they could be put into the DNA database.
In 2008, DSB deputies collected DNA samples from 4,191 inmates bringing
the total since passage of the historic initiative to nearly 25,000. Meanwhile,
criminalists at the Sheriff’s Regional Crime Laboratory developed DNA
profiles from evidence collected at crime scenes by Sheriff’s field
deputies, detectives and crime scene investigators. These profiles—from
homicides, sexual assaults, and street crimes—were compared to the DNA
of the known offenders in the database. The result: over 500
matches—cold hits directly connecting suspects to their crimes.
Significantly, these are cases that would not otherwise be solved.
This, of course, translates into more justice in the courtroom and
increased safety in our communities.
As successful as this coordinated effort has been, it’s going to get
better. Proposition 69 provided for another change in law. Effective
January 2009, rather than collect DNA samples from convicted felons
only, the law authorizes collecting a DNA sample from every felony
arrestee. Again, DSB deputies went to work to prepare to collect
the DNA samples. At the stroke of midnight of the New Year, with no
additional staff, they started collecting this valuable evidence. We
expect the impact to be dramatic as we add more offenders to the
database, enabling our investigators to solve even more crimes.
These are just two examples of our successes in 2008. Our department
enjoys an excellent reputation, thanks to the caliber of our men and
women. Especially today, with the challenges facing our state, nation,
and world, we ask our employees to do more with less.
This department does not stand alone. We have a cadre of immensely
talented volunteers, who augment the efforts of our staff. Without
citizen support groups such as Search and Rescue, the Honorary Deputy
Sheriffs’ Association, Senior Volunteers, and the Law Enforcement
Foundation, we would not enjoy the accomplishments achieved.
I would also like to acknowledge the County’s Public Safety Group,
led by Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard, Deputy Chief
Administrative Officer Ray Fernandez, and the County Board of
Supervisors, who continue to provide invaluable support to public
Finally, I would like to thank the citizens of San Diego County. Your
support, partnership, and friendship make us a better organization.
William B. Kolender, Sheriff
San Diego County