That would appear to be the question on the minds of readers who picked up this morning’s edition of the Daily Journal. Reporter Matthew Pordum wrote in his article that relations between the AOC and the association representing courtroom deputies have deteriorated to the point where the AOC is now considering taking away courtroom security from the sheriffs. And in the AOC spirit of “Let’s reinvent the wheel and make it more complicated” the AOC wants to create a whole new statewide security program to be run from its Death Star headquarters in San Francisco.
Willaim Vickery of the AOC admitted to the Daily Journal that the AOC was seriously considering a plan that would involve the AOC taking control of courtroom security.
“We are exploring all options on how to improve court security. We have to make sure that court security is funded in a financially prudent and responsible way that meets the Legislature’s and governor’s objectives to keep costs down and provides unified standards so court security is handled the same in every courthouse in the state.”
So what could possibly inspire the AOC to want to remove the sheriffs out of the equation of courtroom security? Vickery claims the AOC would like to see one unified system in which all the courts in each county would fall under one chain of command and guidelines. He called the current system “unmanageable.” The AOC may have also been inspired by what their representatives saw when the AOC sent representative to New York. That state has a system where the court is in charge of security.
Needless to say representatives for the various sheriff’s departments are none too please and have pointed out some of the flaws in the AOC’s grand scheme of creating its own security force. One benefit that the AOC might tout for their plan is that sheriffs throughout the state would be paid with a single pay scale that would be uniform throughout the state. Ron Cottingham of the Peace Officers Research Association of California says this would wind up costing California more as budgets and pay scales are adjusted according to how large a county is and the number of sheriffs needed. With the AOC’s plan courtroom deputies in smaller counties would wind up getting paid as much deputies in larger counties who have more responsibilities and a higher cost of living.
Also of concern to the sheriffs is a security breach especially since the AOC’s plan would involve handing over custodies to the AOC’s security force.
Nick Warner, chief lobbyist for the California Sheriff’s Association, said that creating a separate security team for the courthouses would sever the now seamless transition between the deputies who manage the jails and transport the prisoners and those who handle security at the courthouse.
“Inmates that are transported each day from the county jail to court, will be handed off to a security teams that the sheriff’s deputies are not a part of, there will be a lack of continuity and communication, which can threaten the public’s safety.”
“When it comes to the security of a courtroom you aren’t just talking about the judges, attorneys and witnesses you are talking about the public,” Cottingham said, “and the sheriff’s deputies are the best trained individuals to handle the job.”
I think it’s laughable that the AOC is even contemplating taking over security. This agency with a reputation for lack of transparency and questionable judgment in funding projects wants to create a whole new subagency. Oh, I can see it now. A bright sunny day with flags waving as the AOC’s little army of stormtroopers security force is sent out to courthouses everywhere to do its bidding in the name of security. Makes me feel SO secure.