This has been an eventful year for the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. We’ve investigated high-profile cases, initiated cutting-edge technology, formed a Coastal Enforcement Team, seized more than $6 million from an international money laundering operation, and cleared 4,388 warrants.
The year also marked one of the most significant changes in criminal justice in California’s history. In the face of a U.S. Supreme Court decision ordering the State to dramatically reduce its prison population, Governor Brown signed into law the California Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011. The measure shifted responsibility for tens-of-thousands of convicted felons from the State to local government—and particularly to local Sheriffs and probation departments.
Beginning in October, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department began housing convicted felons who, up until the passage of Realignment, would have gone to State Prison. This has put a strain on our detention facilities and on the staff of our Detentions Services Bureau. Once the full impact of Realignment is felt, we will house 2100 to 2400 more inmates—all of them convicted felons. Instead of 4000-plus inmates, we will be responsible for 6000-plus. Significantly, these “realigned” inmates serve multiple-year sentences—a contrast with the 77-day average sentence of county jail inmates before Realignment.
Realignment has required the leadership of our Detentions Services Bureau to develop new strategies—not just to house these inmates but also for their re-entry into society. We must take full advantage of their custody time to give them an opportunity to succeed when they return to our communities—not just for their sake but to reduce crime and keep our neighborhoods safe.
In that vein Realignment has also created new challenges for our Law Enforcement Services Bureau. In 2011 we began phasing in TKO: Tracking Known Offenders. This strategy partners Sheriff’s patrol deputies with county probation officers so that we keep track of where convicted criminals are living in our communities. The aim is to prevent crime, but where that fails, we are there to arrest them and return them to jail.
All of this presents a great challenge. But the men and women of this Department have shown over and over again that they thrive on challenge and are up to the task.
Behind the scenes, our Management Services Bureau directed the financial components of 74 different grant programs, yielding $34 million in revenue to the County. This includes $6.9 million for Operation Stonegarden to fight Border Crime.
These are just some of the highlights. As you read this report, you’ll see 2011 was a year where the San Diego Sheriff’s Department continued to uphold the law, protect the courts, house inmates, manage internal operations, and work with the community in successful and interactive ways. I am proud to be Sheriff and represent the men and women, both sworn and professional staff, who do their jobs everyday professionally, competently, and bravely.
Thanks for reading and thank you for your support of our ongoing efforts to make San Diego the safest urban county in the nation.