The current state of the economy has had a dramatic effect on the sheer volume of criminal arrests and the quality of those arrests within Ventura County. They say that a country is in a recession when your neighbor loses his job and a depression when you lose yours. Whether or not that is the case, the last five years have been extremely difficult on everybody, causing cut backs and substantial changes in how things are done. While these changes have been significant in the private sector, the poor economy has resulted in extensive real-world changes in how and when criminal arrests are made within the Ventura County limits.
In any discussion involving economics, politics and policing, the first key issue is admitting that there are now less police on the street per capita then there was just a few years ago. Dramatic cuts and failures to restock positions have resulted in departments dwindling in sheet numbers of sworn officers. The outcome is simply less man power on the street to "fight crime." In one local municipality with approximately one hundred thousand citizens and over forty bars, there are between four and six officers on duty after midnight, a prime time for DUI enforcement. When you imagine that a typical DUI stop, investigation and arrest requires at least two officers (primary and cover), it is clear that there is just not enough man power on the street to appropriately cover calls for service and still initiate traffic stops when necessary. The result is less traffic stops and less subsequent arrests in cities such as Ventura and Oxnard.
Since there are fewer officers on the street and those officers still have to cover the same territory and the same or more calls for service, those officers have less time for the calls. In short, this means that each officer must handle more responsibilities than ever before, doing so in a quicker and more efficient manner so that they can move on to the next pending call. Unfortunately, this translates into rushed and/or incomplete investigations. For example, DUI stops that should have been conducted under controlled environments are rushed by the side of the road with strong "encouragement" by the officers for the citizen chooses the breath test over the more time consuming blood option. Officers who are forced to make quick decisions, whether consciously or unconsciously, decide while enroute to a single vehicle traffic accident at two in the morning that the driver must be deuce (driving while intoxicated). The resulting "investigation" merely confirms that initial bias. This behavior causes incomplete, poor and rushed investigations, while lead to improper arrests and convictions.
Just as bad as the lack of officers on the streets and the officers not having enough time to appropriately work their calls, is the fact that many of these officers are no longer receiving the training they need to do their jobs. The economy has caused many Ventura County departments to stop sending officers to training outside of their department. The lack of any real chance to progress in the ranks given the lack of new positions has caused many officers to stop going on their own. In sum, this translates into less trained officers on the street, an obvious recipe for disaster.
Due to current economic conditions, there are fewer officers on the street, forced to handle their responsibilities in less time with less training. This naturally results in a drop off in the quality of service which in turn creates a greater potential for sloppy, incomplete or rushed investigations.
At the Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert, we make it our mission to re-investigate each and every case we accept to make sure that the officers acted appropriately and thoroughly in an effort to get the best possible results for our clients whether that is an outright dismissal or a minimization of the consequences. We take our time on every case as if our reputation depends on the results because we understand it does. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our office for a FREE CONSULTATION with an experienced Ventura County criminal defense attorney at 805-901-9119.