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Hollister
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June 27, 2022

Sheriff’s gang unit, a temporary fix

Sheriff Curtis Hill decided to put together a weekend patrol
unit to help buck the city’s increase in gang activity. The move is
unfortunately necessary in the short term because Hollister’s
criminal activity has spiked this past year and the city won’t have
more money to boost its resources until a while after the sales tax
increase takes effect April 1.
Sheriff’s dispatching of weekend gang unit is unfortunate but also necessary

Sheriff Curtis Hill decided to put together a weekend patrol unit to help buck the city’s increase in gang activity. The move is unfortunately necessary in the short term because Hollister’s criminal activity has spiked this past year and the city won’t have more money to boost its resources until a while after the sales tax increase takes effect April 1.

The sheriff’s office unit began sending out the four-deputy team at the end of February. Units will patrol the city Friday and Saturday nights on eight-hour shifts.

We would hesitate to support this type of jurisdictional crossing if the city’s level of public safety hadn’t tumbled so dramatically and the severely understaffed police department’s ability to prevent and fight crime hadn’t reached the point where victimized citizens are forced to fill out their own reports.

It just makes sense – whether it follows precedent or creates a new, temporary one. But officials from both the county and city should make a point of keeping it as a short-term solution.

Revamp the force with sales tax dollars

Once the city can revamp the department to more respectable levels, the sheriff’s office should return to patrolling its traditional boundaries, Hollister must create its own gang unit to hit the streets and, most important, the two local governments need to start working together toward fixing systemic inefficiencies in how they deliver public safety services.

Sooner or later, and it might as well be sooner because the necessity is inevitable, there must be a serious discussion about consolidation on some scale.

In the meantime, though, the rising crime rate and greater frequency of murders justify the sheriff’s recent intervention into the city’s battle with gangs. There is a fight between right and wrong on Hollister’s streets, and the citizens who follow the laws need and desire a greater law enforcement presence to protect their families.

Prevention the only way to win battle

We have and will continue to advocate for restoring the police and fire departments with Measure T dollars once those funds are available. Still, getting the officers is just the first step.

As resources start to allow it again, the police department’s No. 1 long-term focus should be revitalizing its approach to crime prevention. And because it’s not just a gang problem – it’s a community problem, we urge residents to look out for neighbors and always consider what you can do to make this a safer place.

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