Sheriff John D'Agostini gave us an update on the under-construction Law Enforcement Center, and on other law enforcement issues in the county.  Our sheriff was dressed in khaki for the meeting since he had just been re-certified for hanging on a rope from a helicopter to allow him to participate in search and rescue operations if needed. 
 
The presentation was kicked off with a three minute video produced by Channel 2 to provide a visual feel for the construction progress of the new Law Enforcement building.  The old law enforcement facility  has a roof that leaks like a sieve, and discussions about a new building were started in 1984, so this need has been felt for quite a while.  The new main building of the 5-building complex should be open and ready for business on Sep-01-2019.   The new jail will have 469 beds available.  
The crime rate is stable in the Sheriff's jurisdiction.  There are pockets of crime, but the sheriff's office uses effective technology to deploy extra deputies to hot zones.  With a staff of 386 employees, there are 40 vacancies that are currently being recruited for, so hiring is a current challenge.  Pay is an issue in attracting and retaining deputies and other employees.  Three dispatchers recently left the department because they could go to Folsom and get a 15% raise.  The Senate bill 8392, which would change the conditions under which potentially deadly force could be use from situations where the officer believes it to be "reasonable" to where force is considered "necessary", is another potential factor that could make recruitment and retention more difficult.  However, some new compromise language may be gaining momentum which would be less onerous on the peace officer than the original language in the proposed bill.
 
There were several questions including about the efficacy of the STAR (Sheriff's Task force of Active Retirees) and Neighborhood Watch.  Sheriff D'Agostini agreed that these programs are effective, especially if the citizen volunteers remain active and follow the guidelines of the program. 
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