Parents of Audrie Pott, the Saratoga teen who committed suicide after being sexually assaulted by classmates, are furious about a political mailer that makes it look like they support Kevin Jensen in the Santa Clara County sheriff’s race.
Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will review its policy on how local law enforcement should cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The county was one of the first in the nation to take a stand against a 2010 Obama administration enforcement policy that led to a record number of deportations in California.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith surrendered himself to authorities on felony weapons charges Wednesday night. The 24-year-old, who until Thursday was on indefinite leave from the team, turned himself in to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office after checking out of rehab. He immediately posted $75,000 bail. While sports fans might be more concerned with Smith’s return to the Niners, a report on how his weapons case was handled has raised questions about the possibility of preferential treatment. A source within the county tells San Jose Inside that a dispute is now raging between the Sheriff and District Attorney’s offices.
Santa Clara County inmates will continue receiving mail after jail officials abandoned a contentious plan to limit correspondence to just postcards. Jail chief John Hirokawa originally brought up the idea earlier this summer in hopes of limiting the amount of drugs smuggled in through envelopes or postage stamps. But the community put up a fight, saying the mail restriction could dry up prisoners’ ties with friends, family and life outside their cell. The county jail and Elmwood Correctional Facility receive about 200,000 pieces of mail a year. If the postcard-only policy passed, the county would have become the first in Northern California to enact such a ban and one of a few-dozen in the nation.
Over the weekend, Milpitas Councilmember Debbie Giordano sent out a mass email to address the accusation that she stole her ex-husband’s mailbox. A report was taken by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, but Giordano asserts that it was all a misunderstanding that is now being used for political purposes.
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The San Jose Police Department is thinking of getting out of the fingerprint business. As a result, a battle for millions of dollars in equipment and staffing, and has been quietly waged for months between the SJPD and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office over who should process criminal prints.
U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren led the effort to create the Department of Corrections when she was a county supervisor in 1988. The move took the jails away from a sheriff who didn’t manage his budget well and saved the county millions by replacing expensive sworn sheriff’s deputies with correctional officers. Two years ago, the County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to return to greater oversight by the office of Sheriff Laurie Smith. She’s better at managing a budget and the move eliminated redundant management overhead. An influx in inmates created greater security threats as well, requiring trained law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, the cost-saving measure—estimated at $5 million already by County Executive Jeff Smith—might not have been legal, according to a lawsuit filed by San Jose attorney James McManis. A “yes” vote on Measure A is the equivalent of approving something everyone already agreed is a good idea.
Last week I attended a disturbing meeting. Not a City Council meeting or a committee meeting but rather a meeting with law enforcement on child pornography. I did not know what to expect. The Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children (SVICAC) is responsible for investigating cases of web-facilitated child pornography and cases of child sexual exploitation or abuse that results from contact over the Internet. There is a small team that works in this capacity that presented at the meeting. A San Jose Police Department officer gave a very informative presentation, and the seriousness of the content was striking.
With all the problems he’s had with Rob Davis, police auditors and police-community relations during his term, the last thing San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed would seem to be equipped to do is weigh in on the management of another law enforcement agency. But that’s exactly what he did this week. Reed has endorsed long-shot Sheriff candidate Richard Calderon, becoming the first mayor anyone can remember to endorse the challenger to a sitting sheriff. Which has left everyone scratching their heads.