Public safety has been and will continue to be my top priority. I'm proud to say that in a 'Defund the Police' culture, we have increased our public safety budget in North County. That doesn’t mean we do things the same way, but I believe we need to provide law enforcement the tools they need to do their job and work hand in hand in protecting our community. This week, I want to share some of the accomplishments we've had in North County and talk about what I'm focused on when it comes to public safety going forward.
Last month, I co-authored a board action to review the San Diego Sheriff’s Office staffing levels and report back on potential shortages and ways to recruit and attract new talent to the department. With crime rising in many big cities, it is imperative that San Diego County have the necessary public safety officers to keep us safe. These brave men and women have put themselves in harm's way and now are looking at staffing shortages. We must make sure they have all the tools to help them succeed.
Also, I made the motion to move Law Enforcement into the essential tier during the onset of COVID-19 vaccination prioritization. These front-line workers risked their lives throughout the pandemic, and I believe they should have been among the first to receive the vaccine.
We have a problem in society, where currently, our jails are the biggest providers for those suffering from mental health issues. Police and Sheriff officers are having to spend much of their time dealing with those suffering with mental health issues than, Instead of keeping our neighborhoods safe. That’s why I’ve fought for additional mental health services and resources for our community.
I have been an advocate to establish Crisis Stabilization Units in North County to assist those experiencing a mental health crisis and to provide a place for law enforcement to drop off. As of December 31st, over 900 residents have used the Vista CSU with many being dropped off by law enforcement reducing the deputies' wait time from hours to minutes.
Also, last year, I initiated action to provide 15 new staff members to support North County cities and those experiencing homelessness. This developed an outreach staff and highly qualified social workers in each North County city. Prior to this, law enforcement was having to deal with situations that are better suited for social workers.