DNSO Losing Deputies to Other Agencies Despite R-Fueled Metric Increases, Says Lt. of Operations | Wild Rivers Outpost
Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Today at 2 p.m. / Local Government
DNSO Losing Deputies to Other Agencies Despite R-Fueled Measure Increases, Says Operations Lt.
• Is Garrett Scott the new familiar face the DNSO needs to correct its personnel and image problems?
• Del Norte supervisors delay action R Repeal, ask staff to describe impacts of initiative on law enforcement, code enforcement, probation
In the 17 years that Lt. Daniel Schneck has been in the Del Norte County Sheriff‘s Office, he says he’s never seen patrol staff as low as they have been recently.
When he appeared before the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors last month, Schneck said the ability to provide round-the-clock patrol would suffer if a proposal to repeal Measure R, the tax measure of sale of 1% of the county, succeeded.
But, according to Schneck, providing 24-hour police coverage in Del Norte County is already difficult. He said he only had two deputies to cover the entire county during the day and night. With 14 vacancies out of a total of 26, if an MP goes on long-term leave due to injury, Schneck said he would have to implement “modified schedules”.
“It’s probably the worst I’ve ever seen,” he told the Wild Rivers Outpost, referring to the level of patrol staff at the DNSO. “We’ve always been short on patrols, but we’ve always had two navigational assistants we could draw from or our investigation unit had a sergeant and seven assigned assistants. All of those things are now gone.
Schneck sat down with the Outpost a week after county supervisors on March 22 officially accepted the resignation of its boss, Randy Waltz, who faces charges of voter fraud and voter fraud in his bid to continue as county sheriff by Del Norte.
As operations lieutenant — currently the highest-ranking officer in the DNSO — Schneck has assumed the administrative duties of sheriff and will be in charge until Garrett Scott, the only remaining candidate for the position, is elected on June 7. .
Schneck has worked in the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office since 2005, reporting to former Sheriffs James Marready, Dean Wilson and Erik Apperson. A Redding native, Schneck said he came to Del Norte for work, met someone, had three kids, and stayed.
Schneck says he has a few years left and has no plans to go anywhere else until he retires. He also says he has no political slander beyond, perhaps, the undersheriff.
“I’m not a politician,” Schneck told the Outpost.
According to Schneck, it was good to work for Waltz. Although he didn’t have many local connections, Waltz used his expertise and his position as president of the California Peace Officers Standards in Training program to bring classes to Del Norte, Schneck said.
“Like our 80-hour supervision course,” Schneck told the Outpost. “Which we never would have had in the past, but he just did. He had a lot of irons in the fire to improve this place and to move us forward and also to train us. Unfortunately, this was not implemented due to lack of staff.
Waltz was also working with other Northern California sheriffs to turn Butte County Jail into a reception center for inmates transferred to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
According to Schneck, Del Norte County prisoners had been sent to the San Quentin State Prison Reception Center until the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, he said, Del Norte prisoners are being transferred to CDCR at North Kern State Prison, about a 12-hour drive away.
Schneck said the charges brought against Waltz by the Del Norte County prosecutor shocked and surprised everyone at the DNSO.
“It was out of left field,” he told the Outpost. “When I got to work that morning, it was the furthest thing from my mind.”
Over the years, in addition to staffing fluctuations, the sheriff’s office has lost grant funds due to the approval of several state-level bills.
Schneck mentioned the Safe Schools Act that made meth possession a misdemeanor instead of a felony and required the DNSO to cut positions dedicated to meth enforcement.
More recently, some of the DNSO’s most experienced officers have retired, and the agency now competes with Humboldt County, Brookings, and even the Crescent City Police Department when it comes to hiring new ones. assistants.
Voter approval of Measure R in 2020 allowed the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Employees Association to negotiate 11% raises for deputies. Schneck said this allowed the salary of sheriff’s deputies to be comparable to that of the Crescent City Police Department. But the approval of Measure S at Crescent City allowed the CCPD to implement $10,000 signing bonuses for lateral recruits and the DNSO is still lagging behind.
The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Employees Association will have to negotiate further wage increases and hiring bonuses, Schneck said. But in order to get that 11% raise for DNSO deputies, the county asked the association to hold off on renegotiating their contract, he said.
“They offered us money, but they wanted to push the contract back for a year,” Schneck said. “We, the association, have accepted this.”
Members of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Employees Association were already operating under a memorandum of understanding with the county that included 7% increases when voters approved Measure R in 2020, according to the County Administrative Officer Neal Lopez.
In the memorandum of understanding, MPs received a 3% salary increase which came into effect in July 2020, an additional 2% increase which took effect in July 2021 and will receive a further 2% increase which will come into effect. effective July 2022, Lopez told the Outpost.
Following the success of Measure R, county supervisors negotiated the 11% wage increase with the Sheriff’s Employees Association to address the wage disparity between the DNSO and other law enforcement agencies. law in the area, according to Lopez.
“Negotiation is give and take,” he said. “We stepped up and committed to that (11%) in the middle of a contract. A memorandum of understanding has to be acceptable to both parties and the board (of supervisors) has agreed to open it up and set increases of 11%. It is our gift. What we want is that extra year in that contract.
According to Lopez, the cost of operating the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, including the jail, is approximately $10.4 million for the 2021-22 fiscal year. Of that amount, about $4.2 million comes from the county’s general fund, which includes property tax, sales tax and tobacco tax revenue, Lopez said.
Overall, law enforcement and public safety make up about 60% of the county’s annual output, Lopez said. This includes Del Norte County probation, the district attorney’s office, the public defenders office as well as the sheriff’s office and the jail, he said.
Measure R’s original budget called for $760,000 to be allocated to the sheriff’s office, Lopez said. In addition to the 11% raises for deputies, correctional officers received an 8% pay raise and various employees who are also part of the Sheriff’s Employees Association received a 3.5% raise, a- he declared.
Despite this 18% salary increase for sworn positions, Lopez acknowledges the DNSO’s inability to compete with other law enforcement agencies in the region.
Measuring R dollars are also needed to strengthen other programs and departments. Animal Control, for example, has been inundated with calls for nuisance or neglected animals, Lopez said. The Office of Emergency Services has historically had only one operational position.
Measure R dollars can also be directed to improvements at Veterans Memorial Hall, which houses the county’s Department of Veterans Services, Lopez said.
Much like Crescent City’s Measure S — a similar voter-approved 1% sales tax measure — Measure R is generating more revenue than originally anticipated. According to Lopez, county staff had projected the tax would generate $1.2 million per year. In the first year of the measure, the county has already received more than $900,000 in sales tax revenue, according to Lopez. Measure R is now expected to generate $1.6-1.8 million.
The Board of Supervisors and the county auditor-comptroller created a separate account for Measure R to allow for easier oversight, according to Lopez.
A proposed Measure R repeal led by the Crescent City-Del Norte County Ratepayers Association could affect positions that have already been filled and others the county is still hiring for, such as the animal services supervisor. , Lopez said.
The proposed repeal was submitted to the oversight board on March 8, with its supporters seeking to pass the initiative on the June 7 ballot. County supervisors, however, have asked staff to provide reports on the impact of a repeal of Measure R on county programs, delaying the repeal vote until November.
Lopez said he will deliver a report to county supervisors on Tuesday on the impacts of Measure R.
According to Schneck, the DNSO is already one of the lowest paid sheriff’s offices in California.
“If we were to lose Measure R, why would anyone stay here?” Schneck said.
Schneck also referred to statements by petitioner to repeal Measure R, Linda Sutter, that her salary and benefits total $222,546, according to Transparent California.
While that’s true, the information Transparent California doesn’t include, Schneck says, is the hours he worked. He typically works 70 hours a week, covering patrol and dispatch. Schneck said there were also weeks when he racked up 100 hours of work.
“There isn’t a single MP who doesn’t have to work overtime,” he said.
When asked if he had spoken with Scott, the de facto incoming sheriff, Schneck said no. He said he didn’t want to get himself or Scott in trouble by talking to him before he was elected sheriff. But Schneck said he worked with Scott when he was a deputy and that Scott was a Crescent City police officer.
“He has a very strong work ethic and I think he will do a lot of good in this office,” Schneck said of Scott. “I don’t think he’s going to have any crazy left field ideas, but I think he’ll come here and be an addition to the sheriff’s department.”