Posted on Mon, Jan. 02, 2006

Residents to grade Sheriff's Office

By Danielle McNamara

Discovery Bay residents will get the chance to grade the county Sheriff's Office on service in their growing community.

A five-question survey will be mailed to residents this week that can be returned in an enclosed self-addressed, stamped envelope.

The survey comes after Sheriff Warren Rupf's decision to stop sending a representative to the Community Services District board meetings and his formation of a makeshift municipal advisory group of his own.

Sheriff's officials said Rupf wanted to conduct the survey to determine whether complaints made by Discovery Bay Community Services District board members are the concerns of the community.

"(Board members) have been very critical of the services in the past and have directed us to perform functions we did not believe were from the community at large, but a few individuals," said sheriff's Cmdr. Scott Daly.

Daly said the results of the survey could change future service levels or practices "within the limitations of budget and manpower." Similar surveys have been conducted in Crockett and Blackhawk.

Typically, a sheriff's substation commander comes to the government meetings of unincorporated communities, such as Discovery Bay, Bethel Island and Bay Point, to give monthly crime reports and take public comments. The sheriff's office stopped sending a representative to the district meetings in August.

Ray Tetreault, Community Services District board treasurer and sheriff's liaison, said the survey would help gauge public opinion.

"One of the hardest things is to get the pulse of what the community thinks," he said. "We get a snapshot of what the few people who come to our meetings think. So if this gives meaningful information, that is great."

Tetreault said that service levels should be increased in the community of 15,000 people.

"To me one deputy could be improved, but it's a budget problem," he said. "I certainly believe we can use more service."

Rupf has said he has heard about service level concerns from all over the county.

"I've heard that from Discovery Bay residents. One of my frustrations is that we don't decide the level of service," he said. "Those battles are fought in Martinez."

Danielle McNamara covers East County police and fire. Reach her at 925-779-7174 or