San Joaquin County Sheriff’s deputies continue to work with Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) but only when public safety is an issue.
That means if ICE requests assistance from the department’s SWAT unit or other officers when serving a warrant involving a known violent undocumented immigrant, the sheriff’s office will respond.
The department, though, just like city police departments does not stop anyone for the purpose of asking for green cards or other such documentation tied to their legal status of being able to be in the United States.
“Only ICE can do that,” Sheriff Steve Moore said.
Moore said that he obtained that clarification directly from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra that his officers wouldn’t run afoul of state law if they respond to an ICE request providing manpower to assure public safety during the serving of a warrant where the subject is known to be violent.
It is just one of a number of subjects the sheriff touched on during a talk to the Manteca Rotary on Thursday at Ernie’s Rendezvous Room.
Moore noted that crime for the most part is trending downward in San Joaquin County based on statistics reported to the FBI. And when you figure crime per 1,000 residents, the drop off in crime is even stepper when criminal acts are compared against that was 749,092 as of July 1, 2017 compared to 687,442 on April 1, 2010.
He credits part of the drop to crime analysis efforts to detect trends and when and where criminal activity is likely to happen as well as the department’s “community car” program.
The department assigns one or two community cars to specific rural areas in the county such as Escalon and Ripon. They are in addition to deputies who are assigned beats in rural areas.
They are tasked with getting to know the community better. That entails building relationships with residents. That engagement often allows deputies to zero in on problem areas as well as to better identify people that may be committing unlawful acts. The community car officers are able to shift their scheduled so it best matches the area they are serving.
The department is currently working on a minimum security facility to replace the honor farm that has seen a slight uptick in escapes since the state ordered alignment that redirected non-violent criminals that would have previously been sent to state prison to county jails instead. Moore noted when the non-violent criminals do escape they are captured typically within several days.
Moore noted the department is careful to make use of the honor farm and eventually the more secure replacement facility for state prisoners sent to them under realignment to make sure violent criminals can be housed in the main jail without being kicked loose under court-imposed inmate counts.
Moore noted that the department has updated floorplans of schools as well as strong relationships with administrators to be effective as they can be in the case of an active shooter.
He noted the department has made such knowledge a priority since the 1989 Cleveland School massacre in Stockton when Patrick Purdy fired off 106 rounds in three minutes killing five children and wounding 30 others including a teacher before he killed himself.
Moore said his department will place school resource officers at any rural campus in the county paying for 50 percent of the cost of a local district picks up the other half of the tab.
The department is also building a state-of-the-art morgue.
Moore said he supports whatever decision the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors ends up making as to whether the sheriff and coroner duties should be separated. Of the 58 counties, 51 — including San Joaquin County — have the sheriff serve as the head coroner.
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