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Mele Discusses Local Effects Of AB 109

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Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele is concerned over the increase in crime in Tuolumne County and attributes AB 109 as a contributing factor.

Mele was Wednesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day.”

According to Mele, another contributing factor is the economy.

When AB 109 was originally passed, Mele gave a passionate speech before the Board of Supervisors about his concerns, while at the same time advocating for additional deputies.

“What I was trying to get across to the Supervisors, was that since I have taken over as Sheriff, we have continued to cut the Sheriff’s Office, which makes it difficult to do the job,” says Mele. “Citizens still expect the services, and when you have things like AB 109 in play and then better pay and benefits offered elsewhere for our seasoned deputies, it becomes very difficult to provide that same level of service.”

Mele says that AB 109 was a realignment of state prisons. Basically, those guilty of property or drug crimes are sentenced to local jails, rather than prison.

“Our jail is outdated and much to antiquated to hold the size of the inmate population that I’m being asked to hold”, said Mele. “We hope to receive money reserved for jail funding, to help us in the near future.”

In 2012, property crime grew in California by 7.6%. Car theft jumped 14.6% and burglary increased 6.6%. Mele said the percentage of crime in Tuolumne County is comparable to the state figures.

According to Mele, the public can help fight local crime by simply “knowing your neighbor and reporting any suspicious activity in your neighborhood or workplace.”

Mele concluded his appearance on KVML this morning by announcing his run for re-election.

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard each weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45am.