Since 2001, sheriffs offices in California’s 37 least populated counties have each received $500,000 in supplemental state money. Most of these rural counties couldn’t otherwise afford such fundamental law enforcement as one deputy on night patrol.
Last week, a state Sentate subcommittee cut all $18.5 million of this rural law enforcement program. Andy Furillo writes in the Sacramento Bee that even with the state funding, many rural sheriffs haven’t been able to afford the basic. “In the mountains, Plumas County Sheriff Terry Bergstrand said his unhappy secret is that nobody patrols his 2,618-square–mile county from 3 a.m. until 8 a.m. every day. The last deputy off and first one on take the off-hour calls.”
The rural sheriffs’ program is one of many the legislature seeks to cut, a “half-billion-dollar whack that the subcommittee took out of local law enforcement.” Furillo writes that State Senator Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto) has pledged to fight for restoration of the rural sheriffs’ fund.