In his monthly video address to constituents released on Monday, San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow continued to lobby the public to help bring resolution to the contract standstill between the County of San Joaquin and the deputy sheriff’s association – a stalemate that has so far cost Withrow 10 deputies to neighboring agencies while 26 more claim that they’re ready to leave.
The five-minute video address was filmed at an animal rescue facility in Lathrop.
Withrow held a press conference last month to announce that he was temporarily suspending popular programs so that he could put more officers back on patrol.
The moves were unpopular in some of the communities that were impacted – particularly in Mountain House where Withrow pulled deputies back into the office to provide basic patrol protection for the county as a whole – but championed by others that saw it as a message to the county’s elected officials that something needs to be done.
“We’ve had some struggles lately with our staffing and the retention of our employees,” Withrow said. “We’re trying to work really hard with the Board of Supervisors to get the deputies, who have been without a contract for four-and-a-half years, resolution quickly.
“It has impacted some of our communities – one of which was Mountain House – but we’ve made sure we have beefed up our regular patrols with some of the officers were have pulled out of Mountain House and other areas so we can completely cover our county safely so our officers will be safe and that our citizens will be safe.”
Earlier this month the contract dispute, which appears to be over the percentage of the cost-of-living adjustment offered and the length of time being included in the final contract language, resulted in almost three dozen per diem bailiffs at the San Joaquin County Superior Court not showing up for work in what was believed to be a sign of solidarity with the deputies.
The move shuttered all three of the county’s courthouse buildings – the main courthouse in Downtown Stockton and satellite locations in Lodi and Manteca – after an emergency closure was called for. Only the most basic legal cases, like mandated arraignments, were carried out on that day.
While Withrow’s address included other comments to the public including the announcement of two new classes of correctional officers and an upcoming citizen’s academy, he spent a fair amount of the five minutes discussing the issue with the contract and once again urged the public to reach out to their elected officials and let their voices be heard.
“The DSA is in negotiations and they’re working with the Board of Supervisor and I encourage everyone to voice their opinion and make sure we have all of the officers we need to keep our streets safe and to be able to maintain our staffing levels,” Withrow said. “Please get involved – we appreciate any support you can give us.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.