News Release


DATE: April 4, 2000

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108


Chairwoman fulfills State of the County promise, calling on the expansion of the Sheriff's Regional Gang Suppression Unit

Under the leadership of Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, the Board of Supervisors today approved the expansion of the Sheriff's Regional Gang Suppression Unit, a specialized force focusing on reducing gang crime throughout the entire county.

"It's time now to send a strong message to the County's 10,000 gang members and 100 gangs by expanding the Suppression Unit region-wide," said Chairwoman Dianne Jacob. "The Regional Gang Suppression Unit is currently staffed by only one part-time Lieutenant, a Sergeant, and six deputies. This is not a sufficient level to fight gang activity throughout the County's 4,200 square miles of unincorporated area and the contract cities," she said.

The expansion will create one full-time Lieutenant position, and add two Sergeants and 12 detectives to the existing unit, which will take a more proactive approach to combating gangs. "It's critical that law enforcement be proactive, not reactive to gang activity," said Chairwoman Jacob.

Pressure from the San Diego Police Department's Gang Suppression Unit on gang members operating in the southern and eastern areas of their city has caused gang migration to nearby Sheriff's jurisdictions, where gang enforcement assets are minimal. Rusty Burkett, President of the San Diego County Deputy Sheriff's Association, spoke in support of the proposal. "We're grossly understaffed in our gang units in the county," he said.

The proposal, co-signed by Sheriff Bill Kolender, was approved and will return to the Board of Supervisors this June for funding during budget deliberations.