Grand Jury finds fault in Sheriff’s operation of Truckee substation | SierraSun.com

Grand Jury finds fault in Sheriff’s operation of Truckee substation

Kyle Magin
Sun News Service

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Nevada County’s Grand Jury released a report Wednesday finding substandard safety measures and inmate supervision at the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Truckee substation and the Superior Court holding facility.

The Grand Jury found deficiencies in the surveillance at the substation, as cameras do not monitor all inmate areas, including their cells.

Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal reviewed the report and said surveillance at the 1960s-era facility is adequate.

“In a perfect world you want to be looking in the cells, but we can’t do that, because we sometimes have female inmates up there and we can’t have males viewing those cells,” Royal said.

Officers have surveillance cameras on the common areas between cells and periodically monitor activity within the cells, he said.

The report also cited a lack of supervision of inmates on work details around the facility, the courthouse and Truckee library. Sometimes, the inmates are not always searched for contraband upon return to the facility, which raises safety issues, the Grand Jury found.

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That’s a function of what sort of low-security inmates are selected to work at the Truckee facility, Royal said.

“We’re very rigorous in how we screen who goes up there,” Royal said. “Generally what they are is someone who’s never been to jail before, maybe for a DUI and they have to serve a few days, or a domestic violence case where they have no prior criminal history.”

The report also cited a deficiency found by the Truckee Fire Marshal. The deficiency – regarding how some electric wires were positioned close to flammable, wooden material – has been corrected, Royal said.

The Grand Jury also cited a problem with the way inmates are transported into the Nevada County Superior Court’s Truckee branch. Inmates are loaded into a secure vehicle at the substation, then driven to the court, where they are led from the vehicle through an unsecured, outdoor area with zero cameras, through an entrance used by the public and into the courtroom, the report said.

Without better funding for the courts, that problem can’t be readily addressed, Royal said. He pointed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2011-2012 budget, which cuts funding for courts and court construction.

“I just don’t see that money being available at the moment,” he said.