Make San Diego the safest and most resilient community in the nation, where youth are protected and the criminal justice system is balanced between accountability and rehabilitation.
County parks and libraries also offer teens social and mentorship opportunities after school. For example, the Spring Valley Teen Center brought teens and Sheriff’s deputies together for a barbecue lunch and basketball game, building trust and a sense of community.
FIGHTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Unfortunately, young people are also at risk for human trafficking. To address this disturbing crime, the District Attorney’s Office worked with Child Welfare Services (CWS) to launch a new anti-trafficking awareness campaign called “The Ugly Truth.” CWS led an effort to better identify and help young victims of trafficking in foster care and juvenile hall. The County’s interdisciplinary Human Trafficking-Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (HT-CSEC) Advisory Council supported a multi-pronged attack on human trafficking that also included training hotel and motel operators and staff at local schools to recognize and report the crime.
TREATING THE TRAUMA
Prevention and diversion programs keep most at-risk youth from ever entering the juvenile justice system. But the young people who do land in juvenile hall or on probation often have serious mental health issues and a history of trauma. To meet their needs, the Trauma Responsive Unit at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Center opened in early 2016. There, teens learn positive coping skills and set personal goals. Of course, these kids need support in the community, too. This year, the Probation Department and partners added new mental health screenings and assessments for youth under probation supervision and new therapeutic services to help young people heal and move forward.
The results? The region’s crime rates remain at historic lows. Using data-driven policing to analyze crime patterns, the County worked to prevent the most prolific offenders from committing new crimes, while connecting those ready to leave behind the criminal justice system with services.
The County did this while putting into place changes triggered by Proposition 47, a California ballot initiative that took effect in November 2014 and immediately reduced certain drug possession felonies and thefts to misdemeanors.
Our District Attorney and Public Defender worked closely together with the Superior Court to process more than 30,000 petitions from people with felonies seeking reductions in their charges and sentences. The Sheriff’s and Probation departments also adjusted their practices to accommodate the changes.
Sheriff and Probation partnered with nonprofits San Diego Workforce Partnership and Second Chance to open a new job center at the East Mesa Reentry Facility in Otay Mesa. There, inmates learn how to use a computer, write resumes, practice interview skills and apply for jobs online. The center is one of many ways the County’s public safety departments are helping inmates build productive, crime-free lives.
Wildfires are one of our biggest and most persistent challenges. The County made major strides toward improving fire and emergency service levels across a huge swath of the backcountry. The changes made a difference when the Border Fire broke out near Potrero, with a well-resourced attack from the air and the ground. The addition of a third firefighting helicopter, as well as additional water tenders and new quick attack vehicles all helped in the fight against the Border Fire.
This fiscal year alone, rural fire stations received four new quick attack vehicles, on top of five the year before. These are smaller and faster than a larger engine and are designed to be frontline, “first-roll” response units. They help improve service levels by putting well-equipped and trained firefighters on scene quickly in remote and sparsely populated areas. The Fire Authority also added paramedic services in rural areas, providing Advanced Life Support paramedic engines to 10 fire stations.
When El Niño posed a threat, the Office of Emergency Services (OES) worked closely with other County departments and agencies to conduct planning meetings and an outreach campaign to help residents and businesses prepare.
Public Works also upgraded the County Flood Warning System. Now, emergency managers can make quicker decisions regarding potential flooding and provide earlier warnings to the public.
OES can reach new segments of the County’s population after launching the County’s emergency websites in Spanish at ListoSanDiego.org and an updated SD Emergency app. This new version of the smartphone application offers critical emergency information to the public in Spanish, American Sign Language and customizable text size for the visually impaired. OES also nearly doubled the size of its non-English speaking relay network over the last two years. More than 300 local organizations representing different languages and ethnicities can receive and pass along critical emergency information.
Emergencies sometimes come in the form of hazardous materials or vector-borne diseases. This fiscal year, the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) trained fire responders on a new, secure online portal that offers hazardous materials information.
And the County stayed alert to a new vector-borne disease threatening the United States: Zika virus. The mosquitoes that can transmit it are not native to San Diego but small numbers have been discovered locally. DEH’s Vector Control Program recommends the prevention, protection and reporting guidelines it uses for West Nile virus for the Zika virus as well.
Meanwhile, DEH and Public Health Services continue monitoring mosquito numbers, breeding sites and West Nile in birds and mosquitoes. After increasing numbers of mosquitoes carrying West Nile were found in the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon area, the County conducted mosquito control spraying in addition to its regular larvicide drops in other parts of the region to protect the public.
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Public Defender helped 500 juveniles clear their records so they could get an education and jobs.
432 multi-agency task force operations involving gangs, truancy, sobriety and probation/parole.
Sheriff took part in 33 Regional Realignment Group operations, which resulted in 253 arrests, 561 field interviews and 9 citations.
The District Attorney’s Office worked with the San Diego County Office of Education, the San Diego Unified School District and the Law Enforcement Coordination Center to develop the Cyber Transmitted Threats of Violence Protocol to prevent active shooter events.
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