What will a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department with 209 fewer deputies look like? The Sacramento Bee tries to answer that question. Sheriff John McGinness must cut far more deputies to balance his budget than he originally calculated. The numbers could change again, but a picture of their impact is taking shape. Patrol staffing will be knocked down by 74 percent – leaving just 10 cars patrolling the entire unincorporated county at any given time. Detective staffing will be halved. Helicopters will be grounded, the Problem-Oriented Policing program will be disbanded and dispatchers will be in triage mode as they assign precious few resources to calls for service.
The department will look “pre-1970,” said sheriff’s spokesman Tim Curran. There isn’t a clear correlation between staffing levels and crime rates, said William Vizzard, chairman of the criminal justice department at California State University, Sacramento. “This is a very significant cut from their baseline operation,” he said. “Undoubtedly, it’s going to have impact to some extent on the community, the morale of the agency and certainly the level of service.”