The following is a letter from Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall to count residents posted on MCSO’s Facebook page:
I wanted to reach out to the public and discuss several crimes we are currently experiencing in Mendocino County. I would also ask all of our residents to help us, help you.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, as well as most law enforcement agencies in California, are experiencing low personnel numbers.
Several factors have contributed to this, to include COVID shut downs of police academies as well as an exodus of law enforcement officers to other states.
The lack of personnel is causing all law enforcement agencies to create greater incentives for hiring and retention. This is occurring at a time when we are seeing a greater demand for first responders.
The needs range from assistance during natural disasters, to wild fires caused by natural events and arson, violence and homicides as well as a large increase in illegal drug activities. The resources to investigate and deal with these crimes are getting harder to come by.
Our detectives are working several homicide cases in which the victims and suspects aren’t from our area. This causes us to have to travel outside of Mendocino County to adequately investigate these crimes.
Many crimes which are considered non-violent have had punitive reductions.
Several felonies which would have been housed in our state prisons are now housed within county jails across California.
Many crimes have been reduced from felonies to misdemeanors and with the current legislation moving to releases of all non-violent misdemeanors we are seeing more of these types of crimes.
Mail theft is again on the rise and we have made arrests and continue to investigate these types of crimes.
Several other calls for service such as noise complaints are continuing to rise and I received several correspondences regarding loud generators, loud parties and vehicle noise.
One evening we had several complaints regarding loud music while our deputies were searching for a murder suspect.
Please be patient and understand we have to triage calls for services as they come in. Often we simply have calls which take priority over other calls. Calls for service are always assessed and those which effect life and property have to come first.
Mental health cases are also an area which draws greatly on our resources, not only in our county, however across the nation as well. We are continuing to work with Behavioral Health to find good solutions for treatment of people in crisis. We have seen a steady increase in behavioral health issues, this increase seems to be directly associated with substance abuse.
With these things in mind, I would ask a few things of our residents that will help us keep Mendocino County safe. I am asking everyone with a rural mail box to retrieve their mail on a daily basis. If your mail box is empty there will be nothing to steal.
Also packages which are delivered to your residence, please try to retrieve them as soon as possible this will also help us curb theft.
We have solved several crimes with the help of security cameras which are privately owned at residences and businesses.
I am asking anyone with a security camera to please keep them in good working order. When a crime is committed in an area, we would like to know who has video cameras and would be willing to provide us with footage.
If you see something, please say something. If something doesn’t look right in your neighborhood please take note of it and contact us. It may be connected to something much larger than you realize.
Nearly every crime which is solved by our office, is solved with the assistance of our residents. Take note of license plates and descriptions of vehicles and persons while the event is fresh in your mind. It may be nothing however it could be something.
I receive emails and letters on a constant basis from residents who are extremely appreciative of the work our deputies are doing.
I share these messages with our deputies and it is always appreciated.
I am asking when our deputies and first responders are working in your areas, please take the time to let them know you appreciate them.
Our deputies work hard and make sacrifices for the people around them. It is our duty however it is much easier to do when they know they are supported and appreciated.
We have reached an odd time in our nation. A time when everyone wants to condemn any violence committed by police, however no one is talking about persons who resist arrest.
Actions create reactions and we need to start looking at the entire picture.
I am currently working towards greater incentives for hiring and retention within Mendocino County.
We will be presenting several options to our Board of Supervisors which I believe will allow us to hire and retain personnel at a greater rate.
This will assist us as we move forward to continue meeting the needs of Mendocino County.
Sheriff Matt Kendall