McGinness, Nottoli Discuss Sheriff's Department Cuts in Wilton

Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness and District Five Supervisor Don Nottoli addressed concerns of Wilton residents during a meeting he...

Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness and District Five Supervisor Don Nottoli addressed concerns of Wilton residents during a meeting held tonight before a standing-room-only audience at the Wilton Fire Department.

The meeting, which was organized in the last two days, specifically addressed concerns of local residents on the elimination of staffing at the sheriff department’s Wilton Service Center. As a result of the county’s ongoing budget problems, the department’s budget for the current fiscal year was reduced by $19.8 million.

McGinness opened the presentation by giving a brief history of the county’s budget woes since the onset of the recession. He pointed out that on top of the cuts for the current fiscal year, the department’s budget was cut by $60 million last year. “We have been decimated in terms of funding,” he said.

Top Priority for McGinness

To deal with the cuts, McGinness said his top priority was to maintain patrols throughout the county. “The goal is to keep officers on the road,” McGinness said.

While McGinness said he values all the proactive measures the sheriff’s department has implemented, he noted sworn officers behind desks cannot respond to calls at night. To keep officers on patrol, personnel has been redeployed throughout the department.

McGinness said the officer assigned to the Wilton Service Center, Lt. Rosie Enriquez, will likely be redeployed as a watch commander. “The most important thing is to maintain staffing,” he added.

During the question and answer period, McGinness said the county has a lease on the Wilton facility and stressed that the facility will continue to be staffed with unpaid volunteers. The savings of redeploying sworn officers from the Wilton and Walnut Grove facilities is $300,000 annually according to McGinness.

Also appearing before the audience was Supervisor Don Nottoli who said the sheriff’s department is doing “an exceptional job” in light of the tough economy and tight budget. “These are extraordinarily difficult times,” Nottoli said.

Nottoli added that the county may have to readjust budgets downward by an additional $7 million in September based on the outcome of four lawsuits filed against the county. When asked where the further budget cuts might be applied, Nottoli said “I won’t speculate where they will come from.”

While both officials emphasized the dire financial straits of the county, several audience members commended both for their commitment to the county and the Wilton area. McGinness also took the opportunity in inject some levity into the discussion.

When asked what the people of Wilton could do to help prevent crime, McGinness referenced the nosy neighbor in the popular ‘60’s television series “Bewitched.”
“Be like Mrs. Kravitz,” he said. “Watch out for one another.”

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