Council votes to ‘Keep California Safe’

Council votes to ‘Keep California Safe’Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin (front) gives a report to the Ridgecrest City Council. — Photo by Laura Austin

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By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

In an effort to reverse several recent California law-enforcement changes, Police Chief Jed McLaughlin asked the Ridgecrest City Council last week for it’s support to “Keep California Safe.” Council voted unanimously to support the act, which requires 365,880 petition signatures for consideration on the fall 2018 ballot.

According to McLaughlin, California Assembly Bill 109, Proposition 47 and Proposition 57 have led to an “explosion” of local thefts and increased “catch-and-release” arrest for repeat offenders.

Passed as efforts to reduce California’s overcrowded prisons, AB 109 and Props 47 and 57 decreased the severity of sentences for many “non-violent” crimes, reduced a number of drug and theft felonies to misdemeanors, and abolished extra time served for repeat offenders – all of which have contributed to increased crime locally said McLaughlin.

The chief reported that some of the “non-violent” crimes in the legislation include rape of an unconscious person and sex trafficking of a minor.

According to keepcalsafe.org, the Keep California Safe act aims to reclassify several “non-violent” crimes to prevent early release of inmates convicted of these crimes, reform the parole system and strengthen penalties for parole violation, restore accountability for serial thieves and to expand DNA-collection efforts.

According to McLaughlin, Ridgecrest saw an increase in having the lowest to highest number of theft-related crimes between 2014 and 2015.

Story First Published: 2018-05-25