San Andreas, CA — Dennis Downum needs help and he needs it desperately at this time of the year.
The Calaveras County Sheriff says service calls have increased 257 percent in the last five years while his department has been given no additional resources in manpower to meet the needs of the community.
Downum says he is working with the county´s Board of Supervisors to find a panacea to the lack of patrol deputies. During the summer months, according to Downum, the county´s population can easily grow by 20,000 people. Downum would like to see a portion of that financing come from development fees.
Add to that the shortage of jail beds (there are only 65), and the problem is compounded when many prisoners are released prematurely. One answer is a new jail and while the funding has been approved by the legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger, the state must now develop a plan by which counties can apply for that funding. Downum is hopeful ground could be broken for a new justice center in Calaveras County during the first three months of 2008.
Written by Bill Johnson