Accept minimizing school casualties report
Two Contra Costa County Supervisors disagree with a key finding in a newly released Contra Costa County Grand Jury Report titled “The Opioid Crisis: Dying for Treatment” that reported in 2015-2016 over 100 county residents died from opioid overdoses.
Supervisors accepted the Grand Jury report as a consent item on a 4 to 0 vote. Board Chair Karen Mitchoff, who had won re-election to a new four-year term in last Tuesday’s election, was absent.
District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood and District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg said the actual number of deaths linked to opioid overdoses in 2015-2016 was lower. The two supervisors said there were 52 overdose deaths tied to opioids based on the information the supervisors received at a health conference that they attended last week.
Why the discrepancy? It is unclear.
Grand Jury Foreperson Mario Gutierrez told the Contra Costa Herald the Grand Jury collected its information from the Urban Institute and county senior healthcare officials in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Gutierrez says he and the grand jury backs up the statistic. “County deaths mirror the alarming trend and the national epidemic of misuse and abuse of opioids, particularly prescription painkillers,” the report states.
Gutierrez speculates the two supervisors may have received “partial or half-year opioid death count figures” for either the 2016-2017 or 2017-2018 fiscal years. In both years, the opioid death tolls will exceed that of 2015-2016, Gutierrez predicted because that is the local and national trend with this drug crisis.
In May, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors joined 29 other county board of supervisors in suing 19 opioid manufacturers and three major distributors for creating an opioid epidemic in California. The lawsuit seeks reimbursement of taxpayer funds that have already been spent in reaction to the opioid epidemic in Contra Costa County related to ongoing costs of continuing the fight including emergency response, prevention, monitoring and treatment, and for prospective relief to help the county undo some of the widespread damage that opioid manufactures and distributors have caused.
“The Grand Jury also found that limited implementation, lack of funding, inadequate availability and insufficient accessibility in treatment being the least supported of the strategies. There are not enough programs in place to enable first responders to provide treatment immediately when sought. There is a need for on-demand treatment, but delays in access to medical care result in missed opportunities to reduce harm, and recovery, and prevent overdose deaths,” the report said.
“Based on its findings, the Grand Jury recommends that the County Board of Supervisors consider seeking funds for expansion of addiction treatment programs. The Board may also consider encouraging more medical care providers to become Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) certified, hire more MAT clinicians, provide in-county residential treatment facilities for adolescents, and place more certified professional addiction clinicians within the county’s three detention facilities. The Grand Jury also recommends that the Contra Costa County Office of Education consider making overdose antidotes in public high schools.”
The supervisors have 60 days to respond to the Grand Jury’s recommendations. The Contra Costa County Office of Education has 90 days to respond to the Grand Jury’s recommendation that the CCCOE seek funds for the 2019-2020 fiscal year to provide free NARCAN kits in all county school districts.
Supervisors Accept Minimizing School Casualties Report
Supervisors also approved as a consent item another grand jury report entitled Minimizing School Casualties During an Active Shooter Incident.
While acknowledging “No active shooting incidents have occurred on school campuses in Contra Costa County, The Contra Costa County Civil Grand Jury conducted an investigation to determine what preparations law enforcement agencies have made to respond to such an incident in the county, should one occur. The Grand Jury reviewed current practices of County law enforcement and paramedics serving the County. The investigation focused on high schools, where most school shootings have occurred.’’
The Grand Jury report was drafted at a time when 148 students and teachers had been killed and 310 wounded during 240 school shootings nationwide.
During the Grand Jury’s investigation, it surveyed the Acalanes Union High School District’s four high schools, at one of which local police ran an active shoot exercise. “Although most teachers and students have received verbal guidance on dealing with an armed classroom intruder, they have not received specific written instructions developed jointly by the AUHSD and the local policy,” the Grand Jury report stated.
In addition, the report states: “The Grand Jury recommends that the County Board of Supervisors consider seeking funds to finance ballistic protection for Fire District paramedics. The Grand Jury further recommends that the BOS continue funding the County Sheriff’s Office active shooter training program for paramedics and law enforcement. In addition, the Grand Jury recommends that the Acalanes Unified High School District Governing Board consider requiring its four high schools to work directly with local police to develop and implement specific written guidelines for teachers and students on how to handle classroom break-ins by an active shooter.”
The supervisors have 60 days to respond to the Grand Jury’s recommendations.Read More
Don Stuart Bell, a veteran of the Vietnam War, a former Contra Costa County Sheriff Deputy, and former Antioch resident died unexpectedly on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at age 71.
He is survived by his wife, Sandy Harter-Bell; his children Don Scott Bell, Leanne Herrick, Debra Peeling, and Dawnyll Hooker; and his grandchildren, Garret, Elizabeth, Alex, Ashlyn, Michael Patrick and Elijah. He is also survived by his siblings; John Bell and Susan Hoff.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, June 28th at 2:00 p.m. at the Folsom Veterans Hall – 1300 Forrest Street, Folsom, CA 95630.Read More
Investigators with the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force recently participated in the nationwide Operation Broken Heart, a nationwide effort to investigate individuals exploiting children on the internet. Throughout March, April and May, the team conducted investigations of subjects who distributed child pornography over the internet and focused on individuals traveling to Contra Costa County to meet minors to engage in sexual activity.
In addition to the proactive investigations the ICAC team participated in, a significant school outreach program was also undertaken to teach parents and students about the risks associated with smartphones and social media. During the three-month period, investigators and prosecutors delivered presentations at six schools, reaching 140 parents and over 300 students. During the 2017/2018 school year, the ICAC task force has delivered presentations to over 300 parents and over 2,800 students in Contra Costa County.
The three-month nationwide operation by the ICAC Task Force Program resulted in the arrests of 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders.
“No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production. We at the Department of Justice are determined to strike back against these repugnant crimes. It is shocking and very sad that in this one operation, we have arrested more than 2,300 alleged child predators and investigated some 25,200 sexual abuse complaints. Any would-be criminal should be warned: this Department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimize our children.”
Some notable arrests and investigations conducted during Operation Broken Heart include:
-On April 6, 2018, investigators arrested Russell Meirose of Milpitas, California. Meirose was arrested after chatting online with someone he believed to be a 13-year old girl and enticing her to meet for sex. Meirose was arrested at a hotel in Pleasanton after he rented a room for the girl and himself. The girl he was talking to was actually an undercover police officer. Meirose has been charged with multiple felonies including attempted lewd acts with a child and arranging to meet a minor for sex.
-On April 19, 2018, investigators arrested Andrew Lund, a fourth grade teacher and school supervisor at Glen Cove Elementary school in Vallejo. Lund was arrested after it was determined he was sending harmful material to a person he believed to be a minor and attempting to arrange a meeting with that 14-year-old girl for sex. In reality, Lund was chatting with an undercover police officer. When investigators searched his house in Vallejo, they located child pornography on Lund’s cell phone. Lund has been charged with possession of child pornography and sending harmful material to a minor, among other charges.
In conjunction with Operation Broken Heart, on May 25, 2018, which is nationally recognized as Missing Children’s Day, the ICAC task force executed three search warrants in Contra Costa County, targeting offenders distributing child pornography.
-Investigators with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, Contra Costa FBI Safe Streets Task Force, San Ramon Police Department, United States Secret Service, San Jose Police Department, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and the Contra Costa County Probation Department served a search warrant in the 1200 block of Elmwood Drive in Walnut Creek. Investigators located a significant quantity of child pornography on computer devices inside of the home and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case for potential criminal charges.
-Investigators with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant in the 200 block of Hillside Ave in Antioch. Investigators located a significant quantity of child pornography on computer devices inside of the home and arrested Raymond Myers for possession of child pornography. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case for potential criminal charges.
-Investigators with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations, Child Exploitation Unit, served a search warrant on Brush Creek Drive in Pittsburg. Investigators located a significant quantity of child pornography on computer devices inside of the home and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case for potential criminal charges.
The Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is managed by the San Jose Police Department. In Contra Costa County, detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Martinez, San Ramon, Concord and Moraga Police Departments, the Sheriff’s Office, Contra Costa County Probation Department and Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force along with Special Agents from the United States Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service.
Parents are encouraged to discuss online safety with their children and can visit the website www.kidsmartz.org for further information. If you believe your school or community organization would benefit from a smartphone and social media awareness presentation, please contact Deputy District Attorney Lauren Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Senior Inspector Darryl Holcombe at email@example.com.Read More
The investigation into the in-custody death at the Martinez Detention Facility is continuing. The death is being investigated by the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff and the District Attorney’s Office per the in-custody death protocol.
At approximately 7:43 AM Tuesday, a Deputy Sheriff at the Martinez Detention Facility found an inmate who had hung himself in the shower.
The inmate was unresponsive. Deputies called for medical staff at the facility and began CPR. An ambulance and the fire department also responded to MDF. The inmate was later pronounced deceased at the scene.
The inmate has been identified as 52-year-old Phillip Andrew Jacobson of Antioch. He was arrested and booked into jail on July 11, 2017 by the Antioch Police Department. He was being held on eight felony counts of child molestation. His bail was set at $4,150,000.
Arrest photos of child molesters are not typically released by the Antioch Police Department out of respect for the victims.Read More
Article and photo by Jesus Cano
Maybe the Pittsburg Diamonds just needed a change of scenery to have their fortunes change.
After being outscored 20-5 in their opening series against the reigning Pacific Association champion Vallejo Admirals, the Pittsburg hitters woke up as they defeated the Sonoma Stompers 18-7 in their season home opener.
The bats certainly came back to life.
After beginning the game with a rough start by Tyler Stiewart who surrendered a homerun in the first inning, returning player Wes Wallace smacked a three-run shot right after to put the Diamonds ahead 3-1.
“There’s guys looking for a scoring position so I’m looking for a pitch up there,” Wallace said. “It was 2-0 count, I’m just going to make sure to shrink my zone and make sure it’s a pitch I could drive. I got one that was up and put a good swing on it.”
Wallace finished the night 4 for 5 with six RBIs.
Stiewart continued to struggle, as he gave up back-to-back homeruns to the Stompers.
Pittsburg was handed a plethora of gifts in the fourth inning which saw a significant turn in the game.
Tied 4-4 Sonoma pitcher Robbie Kidd game in relief for starter Ethan Gibbons. Kidd struggled with his control, as he faced five batters, and gave all of them walks. Kidd exited the inning with two earned runs. It didn’t get better for Sonoma, as Pittsburg showcased its bats Rafael Valera doubled in two runs. Jordan Van Atta sacrificed to center and Patrick O’Donnell recorded an RBI single to lead the bottom of the fourth with a 10-4 lead.
Pittsburg never lost the lead after that, but that didn’t come with its trouble in the Stompers’ next crack at the bat. Miles Williams hit a two-run homer. Pittsburg pitcher Skylar Shaw-Fuss walked in a runner.
Pittsburg added 10 more runs to finish the game and snap it’s early season slump.
“We got a lot a question marks on the team, but the guys came out today and showed they were hungry and could swing the bats,” World Series champion and Pittsburg Diamonds manager Aaron Miles said.
One of the Diamonds top performers was Valera. While his jersey number is two, his lucky number as four, as he had four RBIs and had a four-hit game.
“I just wanted to be calm and relaxed at the plate,” Valera said. “If you get too rough or to hard you’re not gonna do good.”
The Diamonds play their home games at Winter Chevrolet Stadium located inside City Park at 60 Civic Avenue in Pittsburg. To learn more about the team and to view this season’s schedule visit www.diamondsproball.com.Read More
At approximately 7:43 Tuesday morning, a Deputy Sheriff at the Martinez Detention Facility found an inmate who had hung himself in the shower.
The inmate was unresponsive. Deputies called for medical staff at the facility and began CPR.
An ambulance and the fire department also responded to MDF. The inmate was later pronounced deceased at the scene.
The inmate’s identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
The in-custody death protocol was initiated. Investigators from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff and the District Attorney’s Office are conducting an investigation into the death.Read More
By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff
On Sunday, June 10, 2018 at about 4:20 PM, Office of the Sheriff Dispatch received a call regarding a person on the 3800 block of La Colina Road in El Sobrante standing on the balcony with a rifle aimed at a neighbor’s home. The suspect also apparently threatened the neighbor.
Deputy Sheriffs responded and established a perimeter. Deputies made numerous attempts to communicate with the suspect, who initially came out on the balcony. He later retreated into the residence.
Members of the Sheriff’s Office HNT (Hostage Negotiation Team) responded and tried to communicate with the suspect, who would only speak briefly and then hang up the phone. Nearby residents were evacuated as a precaution. At about 10:53 PM, HNT was able to convince the suspect to surrender. The suspect exited his residence, complied, and was taken into custody without incident.
The suspect is identified as 51-year-old Alex Studer of El Sobrante. He was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on several charges – making criminal threats, exhibiting a firearm and obstruction. He is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.Read More
Title transfer would advance modernization of the 81-year-old facility
This week, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Kamala Harris and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier introduced legislation to transfer federal ownership of the Contra Costa Canal System to Contra Costa Water District (CCWD), taking an important step toward modernizing the aging water supply aqueduct. CCWD is pleased to strongly support the introduction of this legislation.
The canal system serves as the primary water delivery system for 500,000 people in central and eastern Contra Costa County. It was first constructed in 1937 as part of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project.
The canal system includes the 48-mile Contra Costa Canal, the Shortcut Pipeline, two reservoirs, and other related facilities. Under the companion bills, CCWD receives ownership of assets it has operated since 1972 and has 100% paid off (principal plus interest) since 2010. Ownership of the canal system on the local level means CCWD can more efficiently operate and maintain the system and will reduce federal administrative burdens and associated costs.
In addition, CCWD would be more secure in investing millions of dollars to modernize the aging canal. CCWD is studying options to modernize the main canal that stretches from Rock Slough Intake near Oakley to Concord. “For those investments to be made,” said CCWD Board President Lisa Borba, “CCWD is awaiting ownership of the canal system.”
Because the canal system is currently owned by the federal government, title transfer requires an act of Congress. This canal system is an ideal unit for title transfer because, its single beneficiary, CCWD, has paid for the facilities and will continue to operate for the benefit of customers currently served.
“The canal system has reliably served the people and businesses of our community for 80 years,” President Borba said. “We appreciate the leadership from Senator Feinstein, Senator Harris and Congressman DeSaulnier to help us gain ownership of a system we can modernize to serve our customers for the next century.”
The canal system also includes recreational trails, Contra Loma and other facilities that will be maintained for recreation with the transfer. This action has gained support from local recreation managers, including East Bay Regional Park District and the cities of Walnut Creek and Antioch.
To learn more about studies to modernize the Contra Costa Canal System, visit www.ccwater.com/688.Read More
By Allen Payton
After counting about 20,000 of the remaining ballots from Tuesday night’s election in Contra Costa County, appointed Interim District Attorney Diana Becton has expanded her lead by another 1,000 votes to 50.01% over her main opponent, and Supervising Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves who now has 42.29%. She now leads him by 11,398 votes. To avoid a runoff in the November election, she only needs to win by 50% plus one vote.
However, Graves is not conceding, yet.
“There are still thousands of provisional votes to be counted,” said Katie DeFerraria, his campaign manager. “When the votes are all in there will be an opportunity for comment. Until then, Paul Graves will continue to focus on his responsibilities as a prosecutor for the people of Contra Costa.”
According to County Clerk-Registrar of Voters Joe Canciamilla, his office has counted “174,000 ballots so far, and we have 50,000 vote-by-mails to go and 10,000 provisionals. So, 60,000 total, roughly.”
Asked when the next update will be, her responded, “We’re going to hopefully have all of the vote-by-mail done and a semi-final by Wednesday. Then on June 22 we should have a full, final report with the provisionals included.”
For all of the latest election results in the county, click here.
Please check back Wednesday for the next update to the election results in Contra Costa County.Read More