In his annual State of Bonita address, County Supervisor Greg Cox discussed the consequences of the state’s realignment of public safety as well as capital improvement projects that have boosted the county’s economy.
At the Bonita-Sunnyside library last week, Cox said that the county approved a $4.8 billion budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, of which more than 30 percent is allocated for public safety.
The county is adding 271 employees to support the county’s family resources centers, address public safety realignment, staff the new and expanded Las Colinas women’s detention facility and assist residential and commercial assessment appeals.
Assembly Bill 102, also known as the state’s realignment of public safety program, went into effect October 2011 and allows non-violent, non-serious and non-sex offenders to serve their sentences in county jails instead of state prisons.
Cox said since last year, approximately 57 more inmates have been transferred to jails in San Diego County.
“This will be a tremendous challenge to deal with,” Cox said. “We have to become a lot more creative. We can’t handle all of the numbers.”
There are approximately 2,153 post-release offenders in the county, according to Cox.
“We’ll be spending a lot more money on drug and alcohol prevention,” Cox said.
However, construction for the expanded Las Colinas detention facility in Santee will start in June with the first phase of the project completed in the summer of 2014 to accommodate realignment for detainees.
Cox also said that despite the state’s budget problems, the county would continue to offer superior services to the public.
One of those new services is the county’s SADLE Up! Sheriff’s Analysis Driven Law Enforcement program.
The team, comprised of one sergeant and eight deputies, is the first of its kind in the county, which began operations in January.
Using intelligence-led policing strategies and working with crime analysts, the program focuses on tackling crime hot spots by figuring out crime patterns and why they exist.
“We’re looking for patterns to stop crime before it happens,” said Sgt. Chris May. “Our goal is to get staffing levels where they need to be in unincorporated parts of the county.”
Cox also talked about the county’s capital improvement programs, which have created an estimated 13,000 new jobs in the construction and architectural and design fields due to major projects in the last two to three years.
The biggest projects include the County Operations Center, Medical Examiner Forensic Center and Edgemoor Hospital in Santee, with the latter two being complete.