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​​These are the Summaries, Findings, Commendations, Recommendations, and Requests for Responses only. For the full Report, click here. Alternatively, all of the full Reports including this one can be found on the Shasta County Grand Jury's website here.

 
 

In Jeopardy

Volunteer Fire Departments

in Shasta County

SUMMARY


The closing of the volunteer fire station in Platina and a city fire station prompted the Grand Jury to look into the state of the Shasta County fire protection system. We chose to focus on the volunteer fire stations.


The fire protection system for Shasta County involves a complex interaction between Shasta County volunteer fire departments, City of Redding fire departments, Shasta County Fire Department and Cal-Fire. We were impressed by the quality and enthusiasm of the individuals involved at all levels. The equipment and facilities were all well maintained.


Recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters is one area which the citizens of Shasta County should be made aware and address in order to avoid future problems.

FINDINGS


F1. The volunteer fire force is aging and declining in number.

F2. The volunteer force is at approximately 49 percent of authorized capacity. As a result, four existing stations are currently in danger of closing if they cannot recruit more personnel.

F3. Operational costs to fund one full-time station would cost over $900,000 annually.

F4. Shasta County spends a lower percentage of its annual budget on fire protection than neighboring Butte and Tehama Counties.


RECOMMENDATIONS


The Grand Jury recommends:

R1. The County initiate a program of full and partial scholarships at Shasta College to train new volunteer fire fighters. If 15 scholarships were provided each year at an approximate cost of $60,000 per year, it could increase the volunteer force over time. The cost of a program like this would be nominal when compared to potential benefits.

R2. The County should increase the stipend from $6 to $15 per call. The cost of raising the response stipend would be approximately $90,000 per year, less than 0.03 percent of the County budget.

R3. The County pays mileage at the County’s prevailing rate. The cost of reimbursement for mileage is unknown but should be minimal as most volunteers live in the communities served.

R4. The County and Cal-Fire develop an action plan to prevent or deal with the closing of volunteer stations.

R5. Funding of Shasta County’s fire protection system should be revisited. Shasta County spends less on fire protection than neighboring counties. Failure to provide adequate funding could result in loss of life and/or property. With the closing of the Platina volunteer fire station they now have just under an hour response time from neighboring stations delaying time for the fire/medical aid.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

R1 through R3, R5


Shasta County Chief Administrative Officer (invited):

R1 through R3


Shasta County Fire Chief (invited):

R4

 

Mountain Gate Community Service District

What's An Employee to Do?

SUMMARY


The Grand Jury initiated an investigation into the Mountain Gate Community Services District because of a citizen’s complaint alleging unauthorized use of a district vehicle. The citizen alleged that a district vehicle was observed at a gas station towing a personal watercraft. The allegation was found to be true.


As this investigation progressed, we also looked into investigations completed by the Grand 2008-2009. It is significant that some of the recommendations of the Grand Jury were that the should consider hiring an administrative manager skilled in organizational management and haability to focus on management of the district, and to create a comprehensive policy and procmanual. The board members should conduct themselves in a courteous, polite and respectful mThe district continues to conduct business and manage employees without an employee manual. [sic]


The 2010-2011 Grand Jury issued a report recommending that the board create a policies and procedures manual separate from the bylaws, for all operations of the district. The district's response to that report stated that the manual was “a work in progress, with completion in the near future.”

FINDINGS


F1. The Mountain Gate Community Services District process of revising resolutions to form an employee manual is inadequate and places the district at risk of litigation.

F2. The board has not considered alternate options for developing an employee manual because they consider this a low priority.

F3. The board has been aware of the need for an employee manual and told the 2011-2012 Grand Jury the manual would be completed "in the near future." The district's actions dating back to 1956 demonstrates a lack of resolve to meet this need.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The district should form a committee to complete an employee manual.

R2. The district needs to adopt an employee manual that will address human resource laws and policies.

R3. The district should separate operational policies and procedures from human resource issues.

R4. An employee manual should be in place by the end of December of 2012.

R5. The district should check employee records to ensure that all employees and administrative staff have seen and read the current resolutions that relate to their employment and conduct as district employees.

R6. Each employee should be given a copy of the employee manual when completed. Each employee should sign that they have received the manual. This point should be included as a policy and procedure in the employee handbook.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


The Board of Directors of the Mountain Gate Community Services District:

F1 through F3

R1 through R6

 

Airport Expansion

SUMMARY


Several local newspaper articles have raised questions as to recent activity at the Redding Municipal Airport. Expansion plans using federal grant money and rumors of new airline service prompted the Grand Jury to look into this issue.

FINDINGS


None.


RECOMMENDATIONS


None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


None.

 

Body of Proof

SUMMARY


In the spirit of full disclosure, the Shasta County Sheriff-Coroner traditionally invites the Grand Jury to observe autopsies and attend inquests involving in-custody deaths and/or officer involved shootings. The 2011-2012 Grand Jury attended five such autopsies and inquests. The Shasta County Grand Jury provides an independent citizen review of the circumstances surrounding these deaths.

FINDINGS


None.


RECOMMENDATIONS


None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


None.

 

Open & Transparent Government

SUMMARY


The Ralph M. Brown Act (Government Code Sections 54950-54963) was passed by the California Legislature and became law in 1953. The intent of this legislation is to make county local agencies, boards, districts and commissions more transparent and open in their conducting of public business. It is incumbent upon the members of the governing body of each agency to become familiar with this act. A Ralph M. Brown Act pamphlet is available on the California State Attorney General’s website at www.ag.ca.gov/publications/brownact2003.pdf.


Government Code Sections 53234-53235.2 commonly known as the Ethics Act (AB1234), was passed by the California Legislature and has been in effect since October 7, 2005. The purpose of this act is to help ensure that elected or appointed members of public agencies, boards, districts and commissions act in an ethical way when conducting public business. The act mandates formal training of the governing body for each district, agency, board and commission. The Fair Political Practices Commission has made available free of charge, a certification program online at: www.localethics.fppc.ca.gov/login.aspx.

[Editor's Note: The SCGJA has updated the above links to direct users to the current web addresses referenced in this report.]

FINDINGS


F1. Out of the 35 districts surveyed, only nine reported training in both the Brown Act and certification in ethics laws under AB 1234.

F2. The chart attached illustrates the compliance and training status for each district investigated as of May 15, 2012. The districts that have “Not Required” in the Ethics column have non-compensated legislative bodies who are not reimbursed for expenses. Those officials are not required to obtain AB1234 training.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Shasta County Grand Jury recommends that each district board member and officers become familiar with the provisions of the Brown Act.

R2. The Grand Jury recommends that district board members, staff and officers covered by AB 1234 obtain required certification.

R3. The Grand Jury recommends that all board members and officers, whether required by law or not, obtain the training.

R4. The Shasta County Board of Supervisors should consider providing Brown Act training to special districts.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Anderson Cemetery District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Anderson Fire Protection District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Buckeye Fire Protection District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Burney Cemetery District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Burney Fire Protection District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Burney Water District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Castella Fire Protection District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Clear Creek Community Service District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Cottonwood Fire Protection District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Cottonwood Water District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Fall River Mills Cemetery District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Fall River Valley Community Services District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Fall River Mills Fire Protection District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Fall River Resources Conservation District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Halcumb Cemetery District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Happy Valley Fire Protection District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Igo-Ono Community Services District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Manton Joint Cemetery District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

McArthur Fire Protection District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Millville Fire Protection District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Pine Grove Cemetery District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Shasta Community Services District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Tucker Oaks Water District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Western Shasta Resources Conservation District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District:

F1, F2

R1 through R4

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors (invited):

F1, F2

R1 through R4

 

Trash Talk

Redding Recycling

SUMMARY


The purpose of this investigation was to get an overview of how the Redding solid waste facility handles waste and recyclables. The Grand Jury’s focus was on minimal impact to the landfill and to inform the public of the value of recycling.

FINDINGS


None.


RECOMMENDATIONS


None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


None.

 

"The Help"

Who is the voice behind 911?

SUMMARY

It requires intense dedication to become a dispatcher for "SHASCOM" (Shasta Area Safety Communication Agency.) The intensive training requirements alone set these workers apart from the crowd. The long hours and potential for performing in highly charged situations, demand a person who has a calm, cool, and confident personality and the ability to multi-task in the most critical situations without hesitation. If I am in trouble, can I rely on the voice I hear when I call 911?


SHASCOM, a consolidated 9-1-1 emergency response agency, fielding calls for the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, Redding Police Department, local fire departments, ambulance services and other agencies, receives approximately 1,100 calls a day, half of which are 911 calls. The other half of the calls are non-emergency. SHASCOM receives over 300,000 calls per year and dispatches personnel to about 195,000 incidents per year. State systems, tracking calls, show that SHASCOM dispatchers answer 98% of all 911 calls within 10 seconds.

FINDINGS


None.


RECOMMENDATIONS


None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


None.

 

Female Jail Inmates

Gender Bias Issues?

SUMMARY


The Grand Jury visited the Shasta County Jail on August 23, 2011 and January 31, 2012 and uncovered a potential gender bias related to the assignment of inmate jobs. Good behavior and working in the jail allows inmates certain privileges. Pursuant to Penal Code Section 4029(b) work opportunities should be equally available to both men and women.

FINDINGS


F1. AB109, the California Jail Realignment Law, requires housing in the county jail for inmates with convictions for non-violent crimes and sentences longer than one year. This creates new problems of inequity in the inmate work force is intensified because of the length of incarceration which must be addressed.

F[2]. A dozen female inmates and several jail staff interviewed, indicated that the complaints in the inmates’ letter are accurate at this time.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Shasta County Jail staff expands the availability of jobs to female inmates.

R2. A hard copy of the orientation handbook be given to each incoming inmate at booking.

R3. Jail staff should research educational programs for all inmates.

R4. Feminine hygiene products should be readily available upon verbal request.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Sheriff:

F1, F[2]

R1 through R4

 

Juvenile Hall

SUMMARY


California Penal Code Section 919 mandates that the Grand Jury inspect the condition and management of all public prisons located within Shasta County which would include Juvenile Hall.

FINDINGS


F1. On a return visit, it was found that a majority of the health and safety issues had been addressed and corrected. The remaining maintenance issues include, the cracked kitchen window, kitchen flooring and a single wall tile in a bathroom.

F2. The Juvenile Hall staff continue to receive training and utilize “evidence based practices” in an attempt to keep more young people from being repeat offenders.

F3. AB109 may require juveniles to remain in custody far beyond the current average of 14 days and possibly up to several years.

RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. We recommend that the county maintenance crew maintain the facility to avoid health and safety hazards.

R2. We recommend that Juvenile Hall staff continue to study and implement “evidence based practices.”

R3. We recommend that all wards, female and male, be provided with equal access to leadership development programs.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


The Chief of the Shasta County Probation Department (invited):

F1 through F3

R1 through R3

 

Red Light Cameras Revisited

Red Light Enforcement Program Works

SUMMARY


The 2009/2010 Shasta County Grand Jury published a report of Redding's Red Light Photo Enforcement Program. Due to recent public interest in the Red Light Enforcement Program, this year's Grand Jury decided to take another look at the program. We completed an extensive review of the Red Light Enforcement Program and found that the program continues to be a valuable tool. The program increases traffic and pedestrian safety for the citizens and visitors of Redding.​

FINDINGS


F1. Since the implementation of the Red Light Enforcement Program, there has been a reduction in traffic collisions at monitored intersections.

F2. The police department's decision for the location of red light cameras was determined by accident rates rather than by potential revenue.

F3. The Red Light Enforcement Program is an effective method of enforcing vehicle code violations that may cause an accident.

RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Grand Jury recommends that the City of Redding continue with the Red Light Camera Enforcement Program.

R2. The Grand Jury recommends ongoing analysis of expanding Red Light Enforcement to other intersections that have high accident rates.

R3. The Grand Jury recommends regular reporting of accident rates to the Redding City Council to measure the program’s ongoing effectiveness.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Redding City Council:

F1 through F3

R1 through R3


Chief of Redding Police Department (invited):

F1 through F3

R1 through R3


City Manager of Redding (invited):

F1 through F3

R1 through R3

 

Missing Person at Risk

SUMMARY


The Grand Jury received a citizen’s complaint alleging that the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department did not initiate a search party in a timely manner when a family member went missing. The family initiated a 911 call to report the missing person. The responding deputy, after interviewing the family and conducting a brief search, reported the missing person as Overdue/At Risk. The man was considered at risk because of medical and mental health conditions. Four days later, after a full-scale search was initiated, the missing person was discovered deceased from hypothermia. After a thorough investigation, the Grand Jury found that insufficient communication between Sheriff deputies, Sheriff supervisors and family members delayed the search for the missing individual.

FINDINGS


F1. Better communication between the deputy and the supervisor about the man’s medical/psychiatric condition would have benefited the search and rescue team by providing them with pertinent information to determine if a search and rescue was warranted.

F2. This lack of communication contributed to a delay in reporting the missing person to the Search and Rescue supervisor.

F3. There is a lack of formal debriefing between the Sheriff’s Department personnel at shift changes.

F4. Changing the designation from Missing/at Risk to Overdue/Not at Risk was not justified because of the missing man’s medical and mental disabilities, and was contrary to California Penal Code section 14213(b); that designation decreased the urgency of initiating a full-scale search.

RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. Better written and oral communication is needed between deputies and supervisors during shift changes when an At Risk adult or child is missing.

R2. At Risk missing person reports should be routinely directed to the Search and Rescue supervisor for assessment.

R3. Review with personnel the provisions of Penal Code section 14213(b).

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Sheriff:

F1 through F4

R1 through R3

 

Audit and Finance Report

OVERVIEW

The Grand Jury took an active role in a number of Shasta County's financial committees, and completed several departmental and financial statement reviews:

  • Review of the County's annual audit

  • Treasury Investment Review

  • Ad hoc committee participation for selection of an outside auditor

  • Sheriff's Department trust account reconciliation

REVIEW OF ANNUAL AUDIT

SUMMARY


The annual audit is performed to obtain reasonable assurance that the County’s financial statements are free of material misstatements. Government Code Section 25250 requires the County Board of Supervisors to conduct an annual audit of all county accounts and allows for a “contract auditor” to perform the audit. Penal Code Section 925 requires the Grand Jury to annually examine the accounts and records of the County.


The County’s contract audit firm, Gallina LLP, issued its final report for fiscal year 2011 with an “unqualified opinion” meaning no exceptions were noted. Gallina reported: “In our opinion, the information is fairly stated in all material respects in relation to the financial statement as a whole.” It is important to note that all of the County’s financial statements are prepared by County management. The outside audit firm reviews this data and issues an opinion.


After review, we believe given the complexity of County’s finances, coupled with the many accounting standards, governmental guidelines and regulations that need to be followed, that the County is performing this financial function in an acceptable manner.

FINDINGS


None.

RECOMMENDATIONS


None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


None.

TREASURY INVESTMENT REVIEW

SUMMARY


The Grand Jury conducted an in-depth study of the County’s investment funds. We found the Treasury function to be performing in an efficient and effective manner in managing the funds entrusted to them. It has the personnel and policies in place to continue to do so.

FINDINGS


None.

RECOMMENDATIONS


None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


None.

SELECTION OF CONTRACT AUDITOR

SUMMARY


The County’s current agreement with Gallina LLP expired with the completion of the June 30, 2011 audit. A special ad hoc selection committee was appointed by the Joint Audit Committee. This committee was to complete a selection process and recommend a contract audit firm who could best provide for the County’s audit needs going forward. The ad hoc committee consisted of two members from County administration and two members from the Grand Jury.

FINDINGS


None.

RECOMMENDATIONS


None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


None.

SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT TRUST ACCOUNT RECONCILIATION

SUMMARY


The Shasta County’s Sheriff’s Department maintains trust accounts which are used to hold money collected from judgments, court collection fees, wage garnishments, work release and permit fees, etc., until distributed to the rightful designated parties.


The Audit and Finance Committee became aware that a number of these trust accounts had not been reconciled for many years. This issue was brought to the attention of the Sheriff’s Department administration and County administration senior management.


Necessary action was taken to reconcile high risk trust accounts. A plan is now in place to have all trust accounts reconciled by early fiscal 2012-2013. In addition, procedures are being put in place to ensure that annual reconciliation of trust accounts take place in a timely manner.

FINDINGS


None.

RECOMMENDATIONS


None.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


None.

 

Shoot or Don't Shoot

Fire Arms Training Simulator - "FATS"

SUMMARY


The 2011-2012 Grand Jury visited the Redding Police Department’s Fire Arms Training Simulator (FATS). The simulator is an interactive video unit that is capable of creating several "use of force" training scenarios. Each scenario can be channeled in several different directions depending upon the actions of the trainee with the goal of defusing the situation. The training is designed to teach the officer how and when to make the decision to use deadly force. We found that FATS is a valuable training device that gives the officer experience in simulated life threatening "shoot or don't shoot" situations.

FINDINGS


F1. The ongoing training of law enforcement officers in a "shoot or don't shoot" situation is an effective tool.

F2. The Redding Police Department is to be commended for requiring this ongoing training for law enforcement officers.

RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. Shasta County law enforcement agencies should continue to use FATS training.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


None.

 

All Talk and No Action

Lots of Money and Nothing Done?

(Realignment AB109)

SUMMARY


California State Assembly Bill 109 (AB109) transfers responsibility for supervising low--level parolees and prison inmates from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to county jurisdiction. In addition, AB109 mandates that individuals sentenced for non-serious, non-violent or non-sexual felony offenses will serve their sentences in county jails instead of state prison as long as the sentence is less than eight years.​

Implementation of AB109 began October 1, 2011. This bill requires our county to manage both the parolees being released and newly convicted offenders. These released offenders need assistance to find employment, housing, a support network and vocational training. Programs need be in place to ensure that community based services are available to keep our community safe and secure.

FINDINGS


F1. The Community Corrections Partnership would benefit by having a member of the Board of Supervisors present at their meetings.

F2. The Community Corrections Center has not yet opened even though there is funding available.

F3. The third floor of the jail remains closed due to a lack of staffing.

F4. The County jail has mandatory releases for lower level offenders that provide a "catch and release" mentality to our community. The court system has seen a significant increase in the number of failures to appear by repeat offenders.

F5. In their report to the Board of Supervisors, the CCP reported only ten convictions of AB109 probationers since the implementation of AB109. However, actual arrests indicate that this figure is misleading.

F6. The Community Correction Partnership in its latest report to the Board of Supervisors painted a rosy picture, but has taken insufficient action to implement the plan.

F7. AB109 has placed Sugar Pine Conservation Camp in jeopardy of closing.

F8. The CCP Executive Committee members have other full time responsibilities and would benefit by hiring a project manager.

RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. At least one County Supervisor should attend each meeting of the CCP executive committee to monitor the implementation of the plan.

R2. The CCP executive committee should provide the Board of Supervisors with options for the location of the Community Corrections Center and open it immediately.

R3. The third floor of the jail needs to be staffed and opened as soon as possible.

R4. It should be a budget priority to send qualified inmates to Sugar Pine rather than incarcerating them in county jail.

R5. CCP executive committee should consider hiring a program manager to direct the day-to-day operations of the plan.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

F1 through F8

R1 through R5

Shasta County Sheriff:

F3, F4, F7

R3, R4

Chief Probation Officer (invited):

F1 through F8

R1 through R5

Community Corrections Partnership Executive Committee (invited):

F1, F2, F5, F6, F8

R1, R2, R5