Danville police chief concerned over prison cuts

Plan allows thousands of prisoners out on the street early

One of the ways California Gov. Schwarzenegger proposed closing a $42 billion budget shortfall in the state is by reducing spending for corrections and parole supervision services by 8.7 percent.

The reductions would mean that the state's parole population would be cut by more than 60,000 by June 30, 2010, as well as allowing for the early release of non-violent offenders for good behavior and for time served in county jail while awaiting court hearings and transfer to state facilities.

Danville Police Chief Chris Wenzel expressed his concerns to the Town Council at its Feb. 17 meeting.

"Sixty-thousand scares me," he said, "and how it's going to affect Danville. We're not sure how that's going to affect us."

Wenzel reassured the council that the plan would not allow for the release of offenders who have been put in jail for violent crimes.

"Most of the people getting out will be for property crimes or drug offenses," he explained.

He said that he isn't sure whether these cuts will affect Danville or Contra Costa County, but he said his office will be stepping up its efforts to educate residents about keeping their homes and cars locked up.

"We're going to continue to be more proactive. We'll keep providing information to the public on crime and how not to be a victim," he explained.

In many of the burglary cases the Police Department handled in 2008, residents had left their homes and vehicles unlocked, or had left the car with purses, laptops and other valuables sitting out in open view on the seat.

Wenzel was asked about whether there has been an increase in property crimes since the start of the year. He said that there had been an increase seen in January, but he was not certain what the cause could be.

He said his office is continuing to look at the numbers and working out how best to respond.

"The main thing," he said, "is remind people to lock up when they leave and not to leave their valuables sitting out in the open."


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Posted by Ralph Hoffmann
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Feb 23, 2009 at 6:30 am

With the economy the way it is, many state prisoners may opt to stay in prison. It's free room and board.

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Posted by Ralph Hoffmann
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Feb 23, 2009 at 6:31 am

With the economy the way it is, many state prisoners may opt to stay in prison. It's free room and board.

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Posted by Leonard
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 23, 2009 at 10:03 am

Well...quite interesting remarks by the Police Chief of Danville, I'm pleased he's not the PC of fact I'm very pleased we don't have a Police Chief of Alamo...our local deputy sheriff's are doing a great job.

The Chief is scared...I don't think Mr. Wenzel would have gotten the Police Chief's job in Danville if he express his fear of criminals...not a good statement for the resume.

I see the Chief is making all the folks in Danville feel good knowing only the criminals being released will be the thugs that do criminal acts of property and drug related breaking and entry and/or selling drugs to the fine folks in Danville.

I'm also pleased to hear that he plans to tell the property owners in Danville to keep their homes and cars locked up. Oh, by the way, locking up is a good idea but it doesn't always work...maybe the Chief doesn't know this, but locks are only to keep out the honest people. If a thug wants in...he/she will get in, maybe he should encourage more Danville property owners to invest in alarm systems, outdoor motion lights and/or get a Maltese...nothing gets by a Maltese.

I noticed the Chief said he was not certain what the cause could be for the increased property crimes in January...well Chief, how about the thugs needing money to support their habits...a good living in Oakland, Richmond, Concord, etc, etc and just maybe their drug habits and guess owners in Danville have an above average of goodies to criminalize, so maybe that's the reason their doing it here.

The Chiefs last comment is a little confusing. He said his office is looking at the numbers and working out how to respond. Does he mean, how to respond to the fine people of Danville or how to respond the the criminals that enter the Town of Danville and commit criminal acts?

Well, good luck Chief and keep Danville safe and for heaven sakes, never go in print and tell the criminals you are scared, that's and invitation to visit the fine Town of Danville.

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Posted by Farmer Dave
a resident of Danville
on Feb 23, 2009 at 5:32 pm


It's good that you're so happy with the police services provided by the Sheriff's Department, and that you think those services are superior to what the Danville PD provides.

By the way, did you catch the special report on last night's TV news about the cutbacks that will be made in the Sheriff's Department? Danville hasn't found it necessary to make similar cutbacks to the Danville PD...

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Posted by Leonard
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 23, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Hey Farmer Dave wake up and smell the roses...if actually took the time to really read my comments, you would notice I did NOT say one negative thing about the rank and file offices that keep the peace throughout the Town of Danville.

My comments were directed to your Chief and your Chief along. If you think he presented himself as a strong Police Chief, maybe you should get back on your horse and go plow your farm.

I wonder how the other good folks of Danville feel about their Police Chief...Darn good thing he doesn't work in Oakland, San Francisco and/or Richmond. I hope you have a good night sleep knowing your Chief is watching over you.

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Posted by Rotten Robbie
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 24, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Thanks for the article but all we care about is Alamo. Alamo, Alamo, Alamo. Home to the three best gas stations in the greater I-680 corridor. We mock you because you are a Zip Code like no other.

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