It has been reported that Supervisor Piepho has publicly blamed the sheriff for "understaffing and a lack of focus on Discovery Bay." In addition, she laments the fact that patrol level for Discovery Bay has not changed in 20 years.
Supervisor Piepho either is a poor student of history or has intentionally misrepresented the facts. The facts demonstrate that the Discovery Bay community is as important to the sheriff and his staff as any community in our jurisdiction. As such, Discovery Bay is the focus of general, special enforcement efforts and the deployment of both regular and volunteer personnel to address identified problems.
With regard to sheriff's staffing levels, this discussion is a matter of public record, to include the written and video reports of the dialogue between the sheriff and the Board of Supervisors during annual public budget hearings. The fact is that the Board of Supervisors has not allocated general fund monies for a single new deputy sheriff since the 1980s.
However, that is not the worst news. The supervisor also failed to mention the reduction in sheriff staffing that has affected us every year in recent history, to include those in which Supervisor Piepho has been seated on the board. To illustrate this, I point to the sheriff's budget for fiscal year 2007-08. The board, over my clearly stated objections, adopted a budget that reduced our maintenance of effort needs by $2 million. This required us to hold vacant the equivalent of 14 deputy sheriff positions.
The good people of Discovery Bay and virtually every other part of unincorporated Contra Costa County deserve improved public safety coverage. This is the basis of my argument at each and every budget hearing that I have attended over the last 14 years.
All tax dollars that flow to the county general fund are distributed by the Board of Supervisors as they prioritize needs. It is Supervisor Piepho's vote that has perpetuated the lack of increased law enforcement coverage; shame on her for blaming the dedicated men and women of my office.
Warren E. Rupf
Contra Costa County Sheriff