Breaking news – Board of Supervisors today approved to cut funding for the Sheriff’s substation in Felton based on the recommendation of Sheriff Jim Hart. The Felton decision is part of a package of funding cuts in reaction to anticipated decreases in tax revenue for the County of Santa Cruz due to financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several years ago the Felton office was staffed with two deputies and front office staff. Over the years, the community has consistently called out for an increased sheriff presence. County response was to add a new sheriff’s substation in Boulder Creek staffed with one deputy Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. But in the process, the second Felton deputy was removed from rotation leaving the valley with, again, just two deputies supporting an SLV population of 25,000.
Since COVID-19 the Felton Sheriff’s substation on Graham Hill Road has been closed. The office is located in an area with a high rate of crime and the Felton Covered Bridge Park, a site that the Sheriff’s Office has stated accounts for upwards of 170 request for officer assistance each month. Felton’s lone representative – Sgt. Jason Dunn – was reassigned after the death of Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller in Ben Lomond.
In a June 14, 2020 commentary to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, McPherson said, “Our Valley benefits from sheriff’s substations in Felton and Boulder Creek that are part of the national Community Oriented Policing model adopted early on by the Sheriff’s Office to build partnerships for addressing common causes of crime.”
Additionally, in today’s meeting, the Board of Supervisors rejected the disbanding of the Cannabis Compliance Unit.
See the County of Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors agenda packet at https://santacruzcountyca.iqm2.com/citizens/default.aspx?