Monday, July 2, 2012

Placer Grand Jury recommends more collaboration between sheriff, police on weapons

Remainder of report focuses on holding facilities, library, and others
By Amber Marra, Journal Staff Writer

The final report of the Placer County Grand Jury recommends a more collaborative relationship between the sheriff's office and city police departments when it comes to issuing concealed weapons licenses.

That was one of several findings in the 2011-2012 grand jury report released Tuesday.

All inquiries regarding concealed weapons licenses in Placer County are forwarded to the sheriff's office. The report states that none of the four police departments in Placer County have a specific written agreement with the sheriff's office and none of the police chiefs are aware of how many concealed weapons licenses are active or inactive within their jurisdictions.

The report lists 564 active concealed weapons licenses in Placer County, 12 of which are in Auburn. Another six people were denied concealed weapons licenses in Auburn and three have been revoked. Forty-six licenses are in need of renewal in Auburn, according to the report.

Though the report found the Placer County Sheriff's Office does not provide this information to each police department, Auburn Police Chief John Ruffcorn said if he needs the information, it's available.

"I don't have it on a routine basis, but if I inquired about that information and had a reason to get it I'm sure it could be obtained," Ruffcorn said.

In addition to recommending the sheriff's office enter into a written agreement with police chiefs regarding the process of all concealed weapons licenses, the grand jury report recommends that the names and addresses of permit holders be provided to police chiefs, as well.

It also recommends the sheriff's office provides the expiration dates of all licenses and the amount that are active, pending, need renewed, have been denied or revoked. Another recommendation is directed at police chiefs, who the grand jury feels should alert residents that the sheriff's office is the only agency that can handle licensing.

Ruffcorn says that he is comfortable with the way licensing is handled because it makes it a less complicated process for the applicant.

"I wouldn't want to create another level of bureaucracy," Ruffcorn said. "The sheriff of this county does a good job of managing that program."

Dena Erwin, public information officer for the Placer County Sheriff's Office, said the office is taking the grand jury's recommendations seriously and that the process of handling concealed weapons licensing needs to be automated and reestablished.

She added that thorough background checks are conducted in conjunction with the licensing process.

"While there is no formal agreement between the sheriff and the agencies, the sheriff meets with the police chiefs every month and they're all in agreement that he handles (concealed weapon licensing)," Erwin said.

Erwin also said the sheriff will take the grand jury's recommendation to the Placer Law Enforcement Agency for consideration in the near future.

Rosalinda Cruz, public information officer for the Placer County Superior Court, said the court had no comment on the report at this time.

Taking care of Placer County veterans today and tomorrow The grand jury found an immense need for the Placer County Veterans Service Office.

The report notes that veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan are now returning home.

The Placer County Veterans Service Office also tends to veterans from World War II, the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and other conflicts, the report states.

The grand jury recommended in the report that the Placer County Board of Supervisors increase the staff and funding of the veterans service office due to the "success" it has seen.

The report also looked into Lincoln's Twelve Bridges Library and the annual inspections of the county's holding facilities.

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