The San Joaquin County 2012-2013 Grand Jury has released its Final Report, which includes reports regarding new investigations, informational reports, observations and reviews of various law enforcement agencies visited within the county, and tours and presentations that have not been previously released. A brief summary of some of the reports follows:
San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors
An investigation by the Grand Jury into the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors’ agenda process and the County’s website resulted in recommendations that would promote greater public participation and discussion at the Board meetings and a more user friendly website. The Grand Jury initiated this investigation in order to ensure that the public interest and involvement in the Board’s deliberations and decision making process is maintained at a level ensuring an effective and transparent democratic government.
It was discovered that a large number of agenda items were on the consent (non public discussion) portion of the agenda and descriptions of some agenda items were incomplete on the website. During the course of the investigation, the Grand Jury found the Board and its staff open to improvements.
Law and Justice
Grand Juries are mandated to tour and inquire into the detention facilities of the State of California, County of San Joaquin, and Cities within the County per California Penal Code Section 919 (b).
The State of California has three institutions within San Joaquin County: Deuel Vocational Institution for adult males and two facilities for juvenile males, O.H. Close and N.A. Chaderjian (Northern California Youth Center).
The County has three detention facilities: the San Joaquin County Jail, the Juvenile Detention Center, and a medical custody facility at the San Joaquin General Hospital. In addition, the County has temporary detention facilities at the San Joaquin County Superior Court and the Superior Court facility in Manteca. Finally, each city police department has jail facilities or other temporary detention facilities. The Grand Jury visited all detention facilities located within the county.
The Grand Jury is reporting findings and recommendations for the following detention facilities: The Deuel Vocational Institution, Northern California Youth Center (O.H. Close and N.A. Chaderjian), and temporary detention facilities. Property rooms for the Sheriff’s Department and all city police departments were visited and a report written with findings and recommendations is included in this report. The Grand Jury participated in 30 ride alongs with public safety agencies, totaling more than 250 hours, with nine different agencies.
San Joaquin County Water Supply
“Never drink the water here.” That is what local newspaper articles have reported, indicating in some rural areas of San Joaquin County, the water supply from privately owned water wells is unsafe for public consumption. More importantly, notification to customers of high level of arsenic in groundwater wells in two cities within the County and total Trihalometane indicated unsafe drinking water. The Grand Jury reviewed the inspection reports of five drinking water treatment plants and toured the plant facilities to address the question: “is our drinking water safe?”
The Grand Jury conducted interviews, reviewed water quality reports by the State of California and local entities, and concluded that the major public water systems of San Joaquin County provide safe drinking water.
2012-2013 Tours and Presentations
The reports by the 2012-2013 San Joaquin County Grand Jury only reveal a portion of the thousands of hours the jury worked. In order to better understand the workings of different governmental agencies, the Grand Jury embarked on an educational quest to learn as much as possible about the County. The Grand Jury toured nine different programs/facilities. In addition, 10 presentations were made to the Grand Jury during the course of the year service.
Some tours are mandated by law, while others were selected to further the understanding of how selected agencies or institutions function.