Yolo DA Attempts to Rally People against Defunding the County Law Enforcement

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Earlier this week I received the following instant message: “I’m hoping you might consider sending an email to the County Board of Supervisors regarding NOT DEFUNDING our Law Enforcement agencies!

“I have a friend in the DA’s office who has told me that they ARE DISCUSSING Defunding. Apparently there are many calls & emails coming in from mostly Davis who are expressing their desire to DEFUND!!!!!!!!”

The city of Davis recently discussed the issue of defunding—but aside from perhaps looking at ways to transfer existing services from the police to other entities, it seems unlikely that the city of Davis would defund the police.

The county seems even less likely to do so.

But that is not stopping the Yolo County DA—using their official seal—from rallying the troops.

The DA is warning people, “Reducing funding to public safety will have disastrous effects on the citizens of our county!”

They note: “Without appropriate funding we will lose the ability to prosecute misdemeanor crimes” like battery, theft, abuse and vandalism.  Or to “offer diversionary programs that assist people in cycling out of the criminal justice system.”

They write, “They need to know that we want to continue to keep our communities safe, protect victims of crime, hold the guilty accountable, and provide diversionary programs that offer resources to the mentally ill and/or those addicted to drugs.”

But as we noted earlier this week, look at the amount of funding that the sheriff and DA get as opposed to the public defender and child support services.

As one emailer noted, “Based on figures provided by the County Administrator’s Office in the FY 20-21 budget… the county has minimal ability to cut Victim Services or the Neighborhood Court diversion program.”

They continue: “This budget information is important context to understand claims being spread by District Attorney’s Office employees on social media. These programs are mostly funded by state and federal grants, not county-controlled general funds.”

Further, “The misdemeanor offenses that they cite as potentially losing the ability to prosecute (aside from abuse charges) are all eligible for diversion programs, so it’ not like they are losing the ability to process these cases with a potential reduction in DDA positions which are by far the largest budget item that the county contributes general funds to support ($9,123,979 in the recommended budget).”

Finally, “All $1,140,097 of budgeted expenses on Victim Assistance are covered by external revenues. 87.9% of the Neighborhood Court program’s dedicated staffing is funded by the Justice Assistance Grant for at least the next two years.”

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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22 thoughts on “Yolo DA Attempts to Rally People against Defunding the County Law Enforcement”

    1. Tia Will

      Keith

      Given the relative funding of various departments, I would like you to explain to me why a more balanced distribution of funds is not warranted.

      1. Chris Woodland

        First I think you need to divide up enforcement into two different groups peace officers and law enforcement officers.

        Peace officers should be basically social workers that carry a gun and handcuffs law enforcement officers are the ones that you send out to get touchy and feely with the bad guys if you follow the drift.

        1. Edgar Wai

          Why should peace officers carry a gun and handcuffs?

          I think peace officers should not carry a gun or handcuffs. They should be there to inform the “offenders” the options and consequences.

          If the “offenders” don’t stop and they are posing a threat to others, then “law enforcement” comes with guns and handcuffs.

        2. Edgar Wai

          If one was to send out a peace officer / social worker on a call a.some tweaker decided to pull a knife on that social worker and try and kill him or her how would they defend themselves if they didn’t have a gun?
          As far as handcuffs go how would they subdue that subject and contain the situation without handcuffs?

          I want a system where the caller decides whether dispatch shall send an unarmed agent or an armed officer. If there is no unarmed agent available, the caller  may decline to get help from an armed officer.

          Unarmed agents need not be “full-time employees” of the police department. They could be any certified “peace-keeper” (the protocols should be public information). They may register their availability to police dispatch (or avail themselves through any independent mobile app).

          When there is a dispute or a conflict, each party may “hire” an agent as a mediator or witness. The role has no “physical demand”. The mediator is mainly there to educate and record the situation.

           

          What if there is no “unarmed agent” available?

          Then the caller could either get a normal “armed police officer” or get no one. My point was just that people seem to want a third option.

           

          Why can’t we require an armed police officer to be trained to handle unarmed issues?

          Because some people want an unarmed peace-keeping option. And there are options that won’t cost the city more.

  1. Edgar Wai

    How often does prosecution of misdemeanor result in a guilty verdict?

    What should society do when the cost to prosecute a misdemeanor is higher than the damage of the misdemeanor? Should the guilty party pay for the cost of their own prosecution?

    1. Chris Woodland

      Most traffic citations in the state of California are misdemeanor and they are very good revenue stream only for the State of California and not the counties or cities just sit in a traffic court and you will get educated.

      By the way a misdemeanor must be committed in the presence of an officer.

      1. Robert Canning

        Traffic citations (running a stop sign, speeding, etc.) are NOT necessarily  misdemeanors.  They are often infractions and the fines and fees typically go to the local county where the violation occurred. Infractions (vehicle code sorts of things) are not violations of the penal code. Serious traffic code and Health and Safety code violations (drugs mostly) can be misdemeanors up to felonies. People don’t go to state prison for misdemeanors, they do for felonies.

    2. Chris Woodland

      If one was to send out a peace officer / social worker on a call a.some tweaker decided to pull a knife on that social worker and try and kill him or her how would they defend themselves if they didn’t have a gun?

      As far as handcuffs go how would they subdue that subject and contain the situation without handcuffs?

       

  2. Robert Canning

    Interesting article in today’s NY Times: “How Do the Police Actually Spend Their Time?” As I am sure most police officers would tell us, most of their calls are “service calls” or auto accidents or other calls that are non-crime related. And I do agree with Edgar, that the costs involved with prosecuting misdemeanors rather than diversion or something else are inordinate in Yolo.

    Costs for police have gone up tremendously in the last 25 years while the overall crime rate has come down. Much of that is probably due to personnel costs (always the highest proportion of a department’s budget) but some have to do with the way that police departments police. It’s a complicated business and simply abolishing police is probably not going to gain much traction.

    I think of defunding the police as defunding functions that could possibly be better accomplished outside of police or don’t need to be done by sworn officers (who cost a lot). David PD has a bunch of non-sworn staff who do a lot of their business: code enforcement, parking, homeless work (I think Ryan is not sworn but I might be wrong).

    The DA could get out of the business of doing a lot of jury trials. I’ve heard it said (I can’t remember where – I’m sure David knows) and I can’t find a quick source of data) that Yolo has more jury trials than other counties.  Trials are expensive but plea agreements have costs too and there is probably a better balance.

  3. Alan Miller

    Creating a new bureaucracy always costs more money.  This is just dream stuff that placing some services in a new agency is going to change anything about how police operate.  The people that deal with the homeless need to coordinate closely with police because most of the so-called homeless in encampments are criminals.  If you think I’m making that up, when we had our Little Beirut Amtrak Station encampments during April and May, we asked about who the people were ‘camping’ (if you call staying up all night fighting and doing the Jitterbug until a hour after sunrise ‘camping’).  After all “they are our neighbors” the homeless advocates tell us — so ‘get to know your neighbor’, right?  Well, wrong — of course, they can’t tell us who is ‘living’ next door — privacy issues — ha, ha!  But, they could tell us that all the people there had law enforcement violations involving drugs, and most had law enforcement issues involving violent crimes.  So yeah, usually those working to get services for the so-called homeless (per-chance they’ll accept the services this time), can use some armed backup, just in case.  So what will the creation of new bureaucracy do except raise costs?  Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic won’t work this time, either.

    1. Ron Oertel

      and doing the Jitterbug 

      Cool!  Fans of the 1920’s, I assume.  😉

      In those days, I believe the “polite” term was “hoboes”, or “tramps” – like Charlie Chaplin’s character.

      Do they have litlle polka-dot sacks tied to the end of sticks, as well? (For some reason, I’m envisioning polka dots.)

    1. Alan Miller

      Please note, “they” are not paying me to come up with solutions, and also please note that those that are paid to com up with solutions have, so far, apparently, failed.  Um . . . what was the specific problem you were referring to, exactly?

    2. Edgar Wai

      What about this:

      The biggest property owner in the city owning more than one family dwelling shall provide free housing and minimum living stipend for the next law-abiding homeless person within 30 days.

      Sharing information of non law-abiding persons shall be lawful.

      Objects stored purposefully store in public areas are not considered rightful belongings of the offender. 30 days after a dwelling was offered to the offender, anyone may confiscate or destroy such objects stored in public areas.

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