Santa Ramona Valley, CA
Today it was announced by Governor Jay Stone that the Santa Ramona Police Department was being dissolved effective October 4, 2019. Amid gasps of surprise, rapid fire questions, and some shouts of joy, the Governor continued with his announcement to inform the citizens that Law Enforcement duties for the city would now be handled by Santa Ramona Sheriff's Department starting that same day.
With the recent retirement of Sheriff Chuck M. Gunster, the governor appointed a new Sheriff to replace him. The new Sheriff will be Chief of Police, Sarina Jade Ramirez. We tracked soon to be Sheriff Sarina Jade Ramirez down to answer some questions about this change.
Reporter: Why the transfer from Police Department to Sheriff Department?
Jade-Ramirez: There are several reasons to make this change. The first being money. It will actually cost the tax payers of Santa Ramona Valley city less money for law enforcement services. All neighboring cities and towns within the county pay into the pot, which allows a city to spend less on necessary services. In addition, we will be able to patrol a larger jurisdiction. This will enable us to cover those areas like the Winter village or the race track which is right out of town, without getting into jurisdictional issues. We also will have jurisdiction over court house security, which at times was difficult when we were just the Police Department. Lastly, the Sheriff's Office has greater resources. They can tap into more state and national funds than most police departments.
Reporter: Oversight has been a hot button issue. How will that work?
Jade-Ramirez: It'll work exactly the same way as before. As Sheriff I have the ability to discipline officers for failure to follow orders or being unprofessional while on duty. For citizen complaints and officer involved shootings, or cases involving suspected criminal behavior, they will be investigated by Internal Affairs which are still ran by the District Attorney's office with oversight by the judge. In all cases that don't involve criminal charges, the findings can be appealed to the Governor.
Reporter: What happens to the officers and staff employed at the Police Department?
Jade-Ramirez: They will be able to apply to the Sheriff's Office and in large part will become employed through the Sheriff's department. Lieutenant Brentt will become my Undersheriff as he has more than shown he is capable to be the second in command of a Sheriff's Department.
Reporter: What differences will citizens notice when the change over occurs?
Jade-Ramirez: They will notice new paint details on all the patrol vehicles. The Sheriff's Department uses a White and blue color scheme. They will also see the Sheriff's Department patrolling the Southside now. As Sheriff I am lifting the ban on patrols in that area. We are hoping to implement the same community policing model that is used in the rest of Santa Ramona County. We hope this might reduce crime in the area. Other than that, the uniforms are remaining the same, with slight modifications of patches and badges.
So there you have it citizens of Santa Ramona Valley County. There's a new Sheriff in town. And Deputies. It remains to be seen how the new mayor, Chiara Villanova feels about this change. We were unable to contact her in time for this story but this reporter promises to get her opinion, as well as the opinions of other citizens once the change happens and we see if things are truly different.