Sunday, September 4, 2016

[San Diego County] Police respond to report on city’s jail efficacy

The city of Chula Vista sent two separate letters to the San Diego County Grand Jury in response to their findings that the Chula Vista jail was a financial drain to the city, and that the police department needed a citizen oversight board of police behavior.
Operating the Chula Vista jail costs the city about $1.62 million per year and generates about $1.5 million in revenue per year. The city provides use of the jail in the basement of the police headquarters to the U.S. Marshals Service at a cost of $110 per inmate per day.
The city disputes the claim that the 48-bed jail used by the U.S. Marshals to house pretrial female detainees is a financial burden to the city.
Because of the financial loss to the city, the grand jury recommended the city revise contract rates, increase the number of inmates or terminate its contract with the U.S. Marshals.
Chula Vista Police Capt. Vern Sallee said the grand jury only reported on the financial aspect of the jail, not the public benefit.
“The grand jury looks at the jail purely from a profit-loss standpoint, which is not the right approach,” he said.
The letter states that the city’s overarching objective of operating a jail is not to make a profit. Instead the city’s “overall objective is to provide enhanced and genuinely more efficient public services to the community of Chula Vista.”
The city said in the letter that this objective appears to be lost in the grand jury’s limited cost-to-revenue analysis.
In a second letter the city says a citizen oversight board as recommended by the grand jury is not needed because the department already has a system in place for monitoring police behavior.
According to the grand jury’s report, an unspecified number and type of complaints on police conduct from citizens in unspecified cities “who felt there was inadequate resolution of their grievances, suggested the current process needs improvement.
Accordingly, the grand jury recommended that seven cities in the county — including Chula Vista—with their own police departments each establish a citizen oversight board or form Joint Powers Agreements to set up regional review boards.
Sallee said the Chula Vista Police Department has had a 10-member Community Advisory Committee since 2001 that is committee that looks over police policies and procedures.
The department also has a professional standards unit that conducts investigations into allegations  into police misconduct. Salle said this has proven to be a robust and satisfactory system for fully investigating  such allegations as well as imposing appropriate discipline in cases where they determine there is misconduct and that includes termination.
The professional standards unit does internal affairs investigations and also reports statistics to citizens advisory committee.
Sallee said ultimately the Chula Vista City Council has the most oversight when it comes to holding the department accountable for their actions.
September 3, 2016
The Star News
By Robert Moreno

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