Govenor Jerry Brown was at the Monterey Sheriff's Department Thursday and he said his main goal was to talk to local law enforcement agencies and see first hand how the state prisons' realignment plan is working at the local level, and to understand how Monterey County can control gangs in the face of budget cuts.
The governor said a lot of time in the capital is spent on passing thousands of new laws, but he wants to focus on making sure the laws we already have are working.
The governor specifically made it a point to say that local agencies need rehabilitation programs to make realignment work and to move away from the revolving-door criminal.
"I do think that this county is laboring under severe challenges, but are making strides. However, I think going forward we need to do more on the gang front. As attorney general I was in Salinas for a big gang takedown, over 50 gang members, and obviously that made a dent , but we have more to do. I also heard that Monterey doesn't feel they got the fair assessment of program funding, so I'm going to look at that," said Brown
Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller and Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin said they believe in realignment but both expressed concerns to the governor about the program struggling to work because of the lack of resources.
"We believe in the concepts of realignment, but my major issue with realignment is that it would have been nice if it was phased in. We were faced with a severely crowded jail when realignment kicked in, and that was only exacerbated when alignment kicked in," said Miller.
Miller and McMillin said they trust the governor will get the county what it needs. However, when McMillin was asked if they have the proper resources to carry out realignment he replied with a stern "no."
"We have right ideas and solutions, but it's a resource issue -- to get enough energy and effort on to the people that need it to make it effective, and that's the biggest challenge," said McMillin.
The governor mentioned that the money given to different counties is determined by a fixed formula, but he said he would be taking a look at it to make sure counties like Monterey get the money they need.