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Another 100 Deputies to Be Laid Off

The latest round of pink slips brought the total to 200 laid off deputies.

Another 100 deputies were laid off, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The latest round of pink slips handed out Thursday brought the total to 200 layoffs effective August 10.

Last month, due to the county’s budget cuts. Another 500 positions are slated to be cut in the next few months if the Riverside County Board of Supervisors makes no changes to the proposed budget, said sheriff’s Cpl. Courtney Donowho.

The board is scheduled to vote on the budget on June 13.

Though the areas within Temecula's city boundaries -- which will have the same number of deputies as last year -- nearby communites, such as Wine Country, Anza, De Luz, French Valley and Winchester, will see reduced service.

The cuts are going to wreak havoc on the department’s ability to function, Sheriff Stan Sniff said in a written statement.

“It will take us years to dig ourselves out of the mess this creates for our criminal justice system and the allied law enforcement agencies we work with,” he said

The department readied a “massive reassignment and transfer list” in preparation for the layoffs. It will move deputies out of special teams, such as the gang task force, the sexual predator team and the frontline drug task forces, the corporal said.

“The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department continues planning for next year’s budget based upon the severe cuts to its services,” Donowho said.

The proposed budget cuts $60 million from county law enforcement’s budget, according to the sheriff’s department.

Every time the department lays off a trained, experienced deputy, it throws away money, Sniff said.

“To lay off any of our employees is a travesty and an incredible waste of taxpayer dollars in the face of dangerous times in many areas we serve,” he said. “To give up jail capacity, precipitously drop patrol levels in the unincorporated areas, mothball any of our 10 patrol stations or to give up critical multi-agency task forces and teams right now is very poor public policy and wasteful of already scarce public safety resources.”

Though whether all – or any – of the cuts will make it into the final budget was unknown, the department started to notify people of the layoffs in advance to avoid going into debt.

“The cuts are so deep that the department could not wait in its planning without causing a sea of red ink after July 1,” Donowho said.

The department also wanted to give employees as much notice as possible so they could better take care of themselves, Sheriff Stan Sniff wrote in a written statement.

“We have a responsibility to follow the board’s guidance when they make a decision on June 13 on our funding levels, but we also have a responsibility to give our employees as much notice as possible so that they can reasonably make plans,” Sniff stated.

Sniff and county supervisors Marion Ashley and Jeff Stone met to work out plans to avoid cutting medical services in the, the corporal reported.

The layoffs will inevitably affect service levels, Donowho said.

“Additional layoff notices and transfer orders will occur throughout the summer, causing considerable turbulence throughout all Sheriff’s operations,” she said. “The department apologizes in advance to the public for the problems that it will create but hopes that the far-reaching impacts of our rapid downsizing is understood by communities.”

Roy T Tatar June 04, 2011 at 08:16 PM
The budget should go even farther in pink-slipping cops. Let's see if these thugs & bullies, that spread fear & misery where ever they go, can find a real job. Ignore the lies & scare tactics from Sniff, he just wants to justify his existence, so he too dose not need to find a real job.
Harold Sharpe June 05, 2011 at 05:05 AM
I support our Sheriffs Deputies. However I do not support the union who is not negotiating in the deputies best interest. The union has failed our Deputies due to retirement packages that are excessive. The county has been paying out on a basis that the county would continue to grow and prosper like a pyramid scheme. The Pyramid is at a halt so something has got to give. The Union did not have to make the selection of pick slipping deputies. They could have made a consession of a fair retirement program but that was not good enough. Instead, the union has asked its members to make a very public layoffs and to intimidate some of its citizens with a slow response. FYI threatening in a manner is a close version of extortion. Now, some Deputies who have served us well, who are like family members to the other deputies, who are there for one another to keep each other alive and well, are asked to leave on a terrible principle. The layoffs will not end anytime soon as the PERS system / retirement was way out of whack. I ask you all to think about one thing here,... Does the average person who works in Riverside county who works in the private sector get any benefits other than a wage? No. Why should those who work in the PUBLIC sector get paid better by our tax dollars? I know the fine deputies strap on a duty belt, a bullet proof vest, a gun, a badge, and try hard. They are expected to make all sorts of decisions in a heartbeat. Blame the Union, Not the Deputies.
Emily June 05, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Mr. Sharpe, you asked, "Does the average person in Riverside County who works in the private sector get any benefits other than a wage?" The answer is..."Yes". The average private worker is eligible for Social Security, Social Security Disability, and SSDI benefits. This is something employees in the PERS system don't get. Even if they have earned these benefits in a private job, there is no 'double dipping' allowed under current law. Just as changes in the Social Security system aren't easy to make, the same is true with PERS. There are people already receiving a pension or close to it. We can't just take that away anymore than we could just cutback on Social Security payments of people already receiving (or close to it) and relying on it. Changes could be made to newer employees, but would that resolve the financial challenges today? Also, the deputies who risk life and limb on our behalf do need more insurance protection than the average private citizen, so they (and their families) are adequately protected in the event of a tragedy. I agree the deputies aren't to blame here, but before we blame the Union, can you elaborate on the proposed 'fair' solution they refused and how it would immediately offset the $60 million in cuts?
TVOR June 06, 2011 at 03:08 AM
Does the average person who works in Riverside county get shot at, spit on, assaulted, insulted regularly? The reason for having a good benefits package and retirement plan for our public servants is because with the hazards of the job, you must offer benefits that will attract people who will do the job well. Cut the retirement plan to some kind of lame 401K type plan and see what quality of people apply for a job as a policeman/woman. I for one have no problem at all with those who take big risks to serve the public having something worthwhile to show for it after a long career.
Popeye June 06, 2011 at 03:54 AM
401k is not lame. Taxpayers can not afford the pensions the Unions are proposing. I do not support public unions.

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