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Sheriff releases annual report; crime slightly up

By From page A1 | February 06, 2013

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office annual crime report was released to the public, showing a slight increase in most types of crime, along with detailing facts about the department as a whole.

The Sheriff’s Office, which has 358 employees and six K-9 officers, spent about $49 million to cover the approximate 180,600 citizens of El Dorado County, coming in less than their $54 million budget. With a revenue of $13 million, the net cost to the county was just less than $36 million.

The total number of cases was down from 11,637 in 2011 to 11,520 in 2012 and calls for service dropped from about 70,200 to about 67,000. The number of arrests in the county increased by 5 percent, but there was no statistical change in the number of bookings in the county.

The county saw a 150 percent increase in homicides compared to the year before —  five in 2012, two in 2011 and three in 2010. The coroner’s report showed that seven people died from homicide in the county in 2012. Rape, however, was down from 21 reports in 2011 to 14 in 2012, a 33 percent change. Robbery and assaults saw a marginal increase of 5 and 6 percent, respectively, while larceny was down 38 percent. Burglary increased by 23 percent with 1,252 cases. Auto thefts rose from 12 the previous two years to 18 in 2012.

There was a 3 percent increase in domestic violence cases, with a 200 percent increase in knife/cutting instrument-related cases but a decrease in firearms-related cases — down from two to zero. In all, there was a 33 percent increase in weapon-related domestic violence cases, counting hitting with hands, feet, etc. as weapons.

The records department of EDSO issued 728 gun permits, a 42 percent increase from 2011, but saw 43 percent fewer renewals, only 188. There were 514 approved gun permits in 2011 and 225 in 2010. There was a 9 percent increase of filed restraining orders, at 1,234. The year before saw a 17 percent increase from 967 to 1,130.

There was a single officer-involved shooting in 2012, the first since 2008, when there were two shootings. Force was used 19 times, an increase from 11 the previous year, and a high since 2009, where there were 18. In 2007 there were 28 incidents of force being used.

Casino-related crimes increased marginally, from 168 incidents to 190. Controlled substance-related crimes saw the largest jump, from 29 to 60, while theft fell from 37 to 28, the largest decrease. Burglary, assault and “other” crimes stayed about the same.

Dispatch received more than 67,000 calls for service, with about 32,300 911 calls and about 107,350 non-emergency calls. The most common type of call was traffic, followed by medical/fire and alarm activations, consistent with the previous year. The dispatch center receives an average of about 2,700 calls each month, with April and May being the busiest. Calls between 2 and 8 p.m. make the majority of the calls — about 35 percent.

The county SWAT team was deployed nine times, down from 11 in 2011. The team consists of 13 entry team members, four snipers and two K-9 units.

The county Search and Rescue team was kept busy with 120 incidents, many proving to be complex. They responded to injured skiers, lost hikers, plane crashes in the wilderness, river rescues and more.

The narcotics division is composed of two teams, one for the West Slope and one for the Tahoe area. The Western Slope El Dorado Narcotics Enforcement Team made 142 felony arrests and seized 142 weapons. Seven methamphetamine labs were dismantled, more than 127,000 marijuana plants eradicated plus 52 pounds of meth, more than 1,400 pounds of processed marijuana, 5.5 ounces of cocaine and 700-plus controlled pills were seized throughout the year. The team added a drug-detecting K-9, Bella, to the force. Bella, with handler Det. Davidson, helped seize $1.6 million and conducted 62 successful controlled deliveries.

SLEDNET, covering South Lake Tahoe, eradicated 194 marijuana plants and seized about 3,700 grams of marijuana, about 1,030 grams of cocaine, about 280 grams of meth, about 74 grams of MDMA, 7 grams of heroin and a single ecstasy pill. A revolver and a handgun were seized along with about $118,000. A Butane Honey Oil manufacturing lab was also found.

Last year saw one of the largest disposal operations in the history of the county’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal squad, part of the Sacramento Area EOD Unit. It spanned nine days, five separate responses and five federal, state and local government agencies. They responded to a report of a deceased person and, based on neighbors familiar with the property, searched an outbuilding on the deceased’s property. An underground bunker containing a large amount of explosives was found, including suspected homemade devices and precursor chemicals to make more. Beale Air Force EOD, El Dorado County Environmental Management, El Dorado County Office of Emergency Services and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also responded.

From that single incident, 33 smoke grenades, fuse igniters, trip flares and grenades were found, including an M7A7 bazooka round, an M81 A1 60mm anti-tank projectile and a rocket. They also found 900 rounds of ammunition, with 400 of those rounds as blanks, including 100 .50 caliber blanks.

The county jails both saw increases in bookings and increases in inmates released for time served. The Placerville facility had an increase from about 4,350 inmates booked to about 4,780. Tahoe increased from about 1,850 to 2,080. Bail releases decreased in both facilities, from 1,832 to 1,589 in Placerville and 837 to 801 in Tahoe. Releases for time served increased from 696 to 1,029 in Placerville, while Tahoe ushered 277 inmates out the door, only one more than the previous year. Charges were dropped against nearly 260 inmates in Placerville, about 100 more than 2011; more than 200 inmates had charges dropped in Tahoe, up from 65.

There were no “major” suicide attempts in either facility, while there were four attempts in 2011. There were, however, 16 total “minor” attempts. There were 76 total contraband reports and 162 incidents of use of force. According to the Custody Gang Unit, 17 percent of inmates are validated gang members, up from 12 percent.

The full report can be found at edcgov.us/sheriff.

Cole Mayer


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