Shasta County talks public safety concerns, solutions
REDDING, Calif. —
Citizens joined with leaders from the cities of Anderson, Redding, Redding Rancheria, City of Shasta Lake and Shasta County at a public safety workshop sponsored by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors.
The number of deputies, recently passed state laws, and mental health were all concerns voiced in Wednesday night's public event at the Shasta County Board of Supervisors chambers in Redding.
Dusty Steele, a mother from Cottonwood, is a participant in her neighborhood's community watch. She spoke about the Shasta County Sheriff's Office and how they need help from the county to improve their operations.
"We need more deputies in our county," Steele said. "At any given time there's only three to four in our entire county on a shift at one time, which means if they're in Lakehead they're not going to get to Cottonwood any sooner than an hour, which is concerning."
According to Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, the four deputies are actually only patrolling from Cottonwood to Lakehead and Shingletown to French Gulch. It doesn’t include the deputies stationed in City of Shasta Lake or the Shasta County Sheriff Office's Burney Station.
Chairman of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors Les Baugh responded to the passage of Assembly Bill 109 and Proposition 47, both of which have been criticized as detrimental to public safety.
"All of those things are fact. They've already been passed, and I don't use them as an excuse," Baugh said. "Because if we do, then we can make a million excuses about why we're not accomplishing anything and why we're not moving forward."
Mental health was also discussed. Donald Ewert, Director of Shasta County's Health and Human Services Department, saying people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.
Shasta County has a series of mental health services, like contracts with inpatient hospitals and long term care facilities for the mentally ill.
The meeting on Wednesday night lasted over two hours, and ended with members of the public raising other concerns, including illegal encampments and what the county can do about them.
Sheriff Bosenko said in light of how well the meeting went, he hopes there will be more in the future.