The Placer County 2015 – 2016 Grand Jury has released their final report on a variety of county operations and inspections of jail facilities within the county.
The Final Report contains the results of investigations as required by law, those requested by citizens, or those internally generated. This report is the culmination of investigations that have been ongoing since the jury was empanelled last July. However, many of the issues are still 0n-going and some concerns raised during the investigations may already be resolved by the time of this publication. – Sharon Stanners, Foreperson, 2015 – 2016 Placer County Grand Jury
Placer County Grand Jury Individual Report Summaries
Alcohol Testing at Del Oro High School Dances
Keeping our Students Safe
Del Oro High School staff and administration became concerned about the continued increase in the number of students appearing to be under the influence of alcohol at school dances. As a result, the school administration researched and implemented the use of an alcohol detection device. The Grand Jury undertook an investigation to determine if a new alcohol testing policy for all attendees at the high school dances was implemented appropriately. The Grand Jury has determined this new procedure has merit.
While the student handbook and the dance contract contain a policy regarding alcohol usage, the Grand Jury recommends that this policy include the use of an alcohol detection device prior to admittance. The policy should also include the consequences of a positive result. Further, written policies concerning training on the use of the alcohol detection device for staff and administration are needed.
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Child Abuse and Neglect
Law Enforcement Referral Process, Training and Coordination with the Placer
County Children’s System of Care
The Placer County Grand Jury reviewed law enforcement processes and interagency coordination related to the handling of referrals and investigations of alleged child abuse/neglect. The Grand Jury commends the Placer County Children’s System of Care, Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Auburn Department of Public Safety, Lincoln Police Department, Rocklin Police Department, and Roseville Police Department for their training, written policies and procedures, coordination and cooperation with each other, and the high priority they all set on the protection of children in Placer County.
The Grand Jury recommends that all non-sworn personnel of the five law enforcement agencies, including part time and volunteers receive training regarding the policies and procedures in child abuse reporting.
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Closing Our Libraries
A Look at Recent Library Decisions
Placer County Library Services covers a large portion of Placer County and operates 11 branch libraries. Loomis and Meadow Vista libraries are slated to close on June 16, 2016. Common sense would dictate that this should save money. However, Placer County Library Services has indicated that the majority of the funds and resources are being redirected to other libraries.
The decision to close two smaller libraries, Loomis and Meadow Vista, has been questioned by the residents of these communities. The criteria used to make this decision failed to consider all of the internal and external benefits that a library brings to a small town.
Both communities showed overwhelming support in keeping their libraries open. Each has conducted meetings, explored alternatives and asked for more time to evaluate their options. Nevertheless, the Placer County Library Services and the Board of Supervisors voted to close the two libraries.
The Grand Jury recommends that Placer County Library Services seek viable options prior to solidifying plans to close a library. They have a duty to seek community input as to proposed direction and impact.
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Homelessness in Placer County
Developing a Long Term Strategy
Consistent with the recommendation of the 2014-2015 Grand Jury, the 2015-2016 Grand Jury continued to review Placer County’s progress in addressing the need for a shelter facility and other services for the homeless.
Placer County does not have a permanent homeless shelter and to this day does not have a stated strategy for resolution of issues related to the need for shelter and other services to reduce homelessness.
In February 2015, the Board of Supervisors approved a temporary conditional use permit and a Site Access Agreement to allow use of an existing structure at the Placer County Government Center as a temporary homeless shelter initially for a 90 day pilot period. In subsequent hearings (8/15/2015, 3/16/2016) the Board of Supervisors extended the permit through March 2017. A solution to the homeless problem in Placer County is not limited to just the question of a temporary or a permanent shelter.
Placer County has conducted a comprehensive effort to obtain input from the public, government agencies, and advocates for the homeless. Multiple public forums have been conducted. A wide range of viewpoints and concerns both pro and con related to the current temporary Dewitt Campus homeless shelter and other services for the homeless have been presented.
Due to the various circumstances affecting the homeless population there is no simple solution to meet all the needs and concerns in Placer County. It is unlikely that any decision related to the location of a homeless shelter will satisfy all concerned.
As stated in the Findings and Recommendations listed in this report, the Grand Jury believes that the discussion has gone on far too long. It is time for the Placer community and Board of Supervisors to adopt and implement a comprehensive long-term strategy to meet the shelter and service needs of Placer County’s homeless citizens.
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Incorporated Cities Code Enforcement Policies
A Review of Policies and Procedures
The 2015-2016 Placer County Grand Jury reviewed the policies and procedures regarding Code Enforcement for the six incorporated cities within Placer County. These include Auburn, Colfax, Lincoln, Loomis, Rocklin and Roseville. The Grand Jury met with various managers, clerks and Code Enforcement Officers from these cities to ascertain their local policies and procedures. The intent of the investigation was to determine if the cities had policies and procedures in place to respond to the complaints of their citizens. Additionally, the Grand Jury wanted to determine if these cities had systems in place to track the status of complaints from initiation to resolution. Furthermore, the Grand Jury decided to ascertain if complainants were kept informed of the status and resolution of their complaint.
The Grand Jury found there were some common attributes shared by the best managed programs, including defined policies, written procedures and a tracking system. Most cities had code enforcement policies defined in their Municipal Code. However, four cities lacked written documentation of their procedures to deal with citizens’ complaints. Also the ability to track complaints from initiation through resolution was deficient for four of the six cities investigated.
This report contains specific recommendations that the Grand Jury believes will help the cities address the deficiencies in their code enforcement practices and improve communication with their citizens.
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Newcastle Fire Protection District
Accounting and Accountability
Newcastle Fire Protection District (NFPD) collects revenue from a variety of sources to fund their operations. The collection of these funds and how they are presented in the Newcastle Fire Protection District Budget can be confusing to the general public who are unfamiliar with the funding sources. Specifically, revenue from Measure F approved by the voters in 1997 to pay for firefighter compensation and benefits is not easily identifiable in the annual budget. The lack of clarity on the Measure F revenue has led some Newcastle Fire Protection District property owners to question if the special assessment funds are actually being spent for firefighter salaries.
The Placer County Grand Jury has concluded that Measure F revenues are being properly allocated to the salaries and wages of Newcastle Fire Protection District firefighters. However, there are significant deficiencies with their fiscal operations that can be resolved with cross training, data back up, and implementing the Newcastle Fire Protection District’s 2012-2013 Grand Jury recommendations. In addition, the Newcastle Fire Protection District is not complying with voter approved language for the appeal and exception process in Measure F and Measure B.
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Placer County Code Enforcement
Complaint Feedback and Tracking
Inconsistency and Confusion
Placer County Code Enforcement does not consistently respond back to the originator of a citizen complaint. Citizens are concerned that their complaints are not being addressed. The Grand Jury undertook an investigation into Placer County Code Enforcement Division’s policy for supplying responses to citizens’ complaints and whether or not they have a process for tracking complaints and resolutions.
The Grand Jury found the Placer County Code Enforcement unit has been neglected by its parent department, the Placer County Community Development Resources Agency. The Code Enforcement unit is understaffed and deprived of important case management software training. This has resulted in a burgeoning complaint load for each Code Enforcement Officer, slow response times to complaints and a lack of data to properly review the efficiency and effectiveness of the department’s operation.
The Grand Jury recommends that the Code Enforcement unit be brought up to full staffing levels to include a Code Enforcement Technician and a clerical staff position. In addition, the department must develop a process for tracking complaints until the Accela program is adapted to completely handle the Code Enforcement unit’s daily tasks. Finally, the Board of Supervisors should ensure that the Code Enforcement department of the Community Development Resources Agency is adequately funded. These funds are necessary to hire critical staff and utilize the basic Code Enforcement software in Accela.
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Placer County Implements Assisted Outpatient Treatment
Assisted Out-Patient Treatment, commonly known as Laura’s Law, is intended to provide case management and other mental health services to individuals 18 and older who would otherwise not seek or follow through on obtaining mental health services. In addition to other criteria, these individuals are suffering from a mental illness, are unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision, and the individual’s condition is substantially deteriorating. As a result, they are in need of assisted outpatient treatment.
The Placer County Board of Supervisor’s adopted Laura’s Law in August of 2014. Following the planning process, the program was implemented on January 1, 2015.
To date, Laura’s Law has proven to be a useful tool within the county. Placer County has successfully planned for and implemented Laura’s Law. The exception to this is the need for a greater public awareness effort focused on Laura’s Law.
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Sheriff’s Office Policies, Procedures and Training
Related to Use of Force and Complaint Process
The Grand Jury undertook an investigation consisting of a review of the policy and procedures of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office and training pertinent to the use of reasonable and acceptable force by law enforcement officers. The Grand Jury also investigated the Placer County Sheriff’s Office procedures for receiving, investigating and resolving all complaints, including use of force.
The Grand Jury reviewed:
- The Placer County Sheriff’s Office use of force policy
- The Placer County Sheriff’s Office training and procedures regarding use of force
- The Placer County Sheriff’s Office complaint submittal and investigation process
The Grand Jury found that the Placer County Sheriff’s Office has a written policy regarding the complaint process and a written policy regarding use of force. The deputies receive training related to these policies. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office has a process in place for responding to complaints.
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Jail, Detention, and Holding Facility Inspections
Placer County Jails and
Holding Facilities: A Consolidated Report
This report summarizes the Grand Jury inspections conducted at the six Placer County jails and holding facilities:
- Historic Courthouse in Auburn (September 10, 2015)
- Burton Creek Sheriff’s Substation in Tahoe City (September 24, 2015)
- South Placer Main Jail in Roseville (October 9, 2015)
- South Placer Minimum Security Facility in Roseville (October 9, 2015)
- Santucci Courthouse in Roseville (October 9, 2015)
- Placer County Main Jail in Auburn (September 21, 2015)
On the whole, the grand jury found these facilities to be clean, secure and well managed. The issues found are addressed in the findings for each facility.
Placer County continues to deal with the results of public safety realignment resulting from AB 109 which sought to reduce the overcrowding of California state prisons by:
- Sentencing less-serious, non-violent offenders, with the exception of sex offenders, to a county jail. Before realignment, any felony sentence of greater than one year would routinely be served in a California state prison.
- Sentencing parole violators to serve their violations in a county jail instead of returning to a state prison.
- Reduction of some felonies to misdemeanors thereby reducing the term of incarceration. Proposition 47 passed by voters in the November 2014 election reduced the penalties for drug and other non-violent crimes. Inmates have petitioned to have their convictions reclassified from felonies to misdemeanors, with their sentences reduced. Jail, probation and court personnel are utilized to facilitate this process.
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Placer County Juvenile Detention Facility
The 2015-2016 Placer County Grand Jury conducted its annual inspection of the Placer County Juvenile Detention Facility (JDF) on October 21, 2015, led by Facility Superintendent Jeff Cann and Facility Assistant Superintendent Joe Netemeyer. The facility is located at 11260 B Avenue, Auburn and includes a courtroom used for family court, juvenile dependency and juvenile offender hearings.
On the date of inspection the JDF appeared to be clean and well-maintained. The Grand jury feels the staff is knowledgeable about pertinent legal requirements and dedicated to reducing the rate of recidivism. The staff states the focus of the facility is rehabilitation and prevention rather than punishment. They are working with the Placer County Office of Education (PCOE) in providing educational programs that can lead to a high school diploma. One detainee had graduated from high school and was receiving additional instruction in job interview skills, resume writing, foreign languages and general life skills.
The JDF continues the Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS) program which has been favorably received by the detainees. This program allows detainees to earn privileges and/or small rewards through a merit system, based on good behavior and following the rules of the JDF.
The Grand Jury concludes that the staff and management of the JDF are to be commended for providing continuing educational opportunities, including job seeking skills, for the long term detainees.
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Rocklin City Police Station
and Holding Facility
The 2015-2016 Placer County Grand Jury conducted its annual inspection and tour of the Rocklin City Police Station and holding facility located at 4080 Rocklin Road, Rocklin, on September 23, 2015. The Grand Jury was satisfied with the conditions and operations that were observed, with the exception of the noted recommendation.
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Roseville Police Station Jail
and Holding Facility
The Placer County Grand Jury conducted its annual inspection and tour of the Roseville Police Station (RPS) jail and holding facility on October 8, 2015. This jail is located at 1051 Junction Boulevard, Roseville. The Grand Jury was satisfied with the conditions and operations that were observed.
During the inspection the Grand Jury was informed of plans to close this facility effective
October 31, 2015. The Grand Jury confirmed with Roseville Police Department that the facility was closed as scheduled.
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Complete Final Report of the 2015 – 2016 Placer County Grand Jury
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