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San Benito County Civil Grand Jury speaks out about the sheriff’s office hiring

SAN BENITO, Calif. (KION-TV) -- Findings from a recent San Benito County Civil Grand Jury report claims that competitive wages, insufficient funding, lack in quality recruitment and poor communication all contribute to the staffing issues at the Sheriff's Department.

The report discussed the temptation of Santa Clara's $30,000 law enforcement signing bonus and larger paychecks as reasons why some police officers who live in San Benito County might choose to work for the Santa Clara Police Department.

"A Captain with the Santa Clara Police Department might live in San Benito County and earn an annual salary of $346,000. Local wages pale in comparison," stated the report.

The findings were a result of interviews with Sheriff’s Department administrative staff and sworn
personnel, ride-alongs with patrol deputies as well as information from previous Civil Grand Jury reports.

"Communities with the highest priorities and expectations bid for the best candidates," stated the report. "San Benito County is a 'bottom-tier' agency and larger agencies steal applicants from the pool."

The report goes on to suggest that San Benito County should try and create new and more outreach opportunities for recruitment, including at Gavilan College. They also encourage the County Board of Supervisors to authorize a salary increase.

Additionally, the report found that "the communication system in San Benito County is subpar compared to surrounding areas." It goes on to say that communication improvements are needed to avoid law enforcement exhaustion and outsourcing communication systems from Santa Cruz County.

"The current infrastructure of the communication systems leaves law enforcement agencies
and the community vulnerable," according to the report. "For the safety of the community and law enforcement, the current communication infrastructure needs to be improved immediately."

According to the report, the San Benito County Board of Supervisors has 60 days to respond, and the Sheriff's Department has 90 days to respond to the findings.

Article Topic Follows: San Benito County
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Jeanette Bent

I’ve been an international professional writer and performer for over 25 years. With a background in journalism, creative writing, dance and aerial, I find the intersection between all of these skills lands itself somewhere under the term “storytelling.”


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