In our prior reporting on our County Sheriff's apparent indifference to the public, we have noted that the Board of Supervisors holds his department's purse strings, thus co-owning responsibility for those actions. We have also pointed out that there is a difference between local law enforcement (municipal policing) and areawide law enforcement (countywide policing duties such as running the jail or providing security for the courts). If Arden Arcade was a municipality - in charge of its own operations and destiny - improvements in local law enforcement would be expected, as has been the case in the newer cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova. Our community having its own police force, though, would not relieve the Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors of their areawide law enforcement role.
We have also discussed how federal Covid-19 relief money was diverted to the Sheriff's budget without oversight, even though the Sheriff said he won't enforce Covid-19 rules. We have pointed out that Covid-19 data are generally reported with greater specificity for our county's 7 cities (ranging in population size from 523K to 794) than for its vast UnCity of more than 606K souls. We have written about how the County imposes rules that everyone has to follow except the County brass. In other words, the County's areawide responsibilities have not exactly won our loyalty. So, while we remain very hopeful that our new Supervisor, Rich Desmond, will be able to start fixing things, it is disheartening to learn that the County's areawide act remains so broken.
Take, for example, the Sheriff's latest round of early prisoner releases. It seems the County Jails are Covid-19 hotspots. There are some 80,000 inmates. The public isn't told how many of them have been infected or killed by the virus, or whether they have been tested or treated. Omicron has made it harder to hide the ball, leading to the recent release of 203 more prisoners. And Scott Jones refuses to provide Covid-19 data about jail staff. County Public Health staff are apparently kept in the dark along with the public. That's two big, important departments using your tax money and not playing well together. Add to that the County's lack of vision, it's penchant for liquor store approvals it performs for the state, and the misleading information it continues to print in its election ballot material. It's not the prettiest picture. Supervisor Desmond cannot straigthen those things out by himself; he will need votes from at least 2 other Supervisors that we do not get to elect. We wish him well, but that's a really heavy lift.