Public Safety Possibly at Risk by State Budget Cuts

Workforce behind Megan's Law sex offender monitoring may see jobs disappear

[UGCHAR-CJ]Fall Photo
Joey Sciarra

The state budget woes aren't just affecting your kid's schools, it's also affecting public safety.

New cuts to California's budgets could change the level at which sex offenders are monitored within the state, according to details obtained by NBCSanDiego.

The Department of Justice is facing budget cuts all around, including agencies such as the one that controls the Megan’s Law website, a site that informs citizens about sex offenders in their neighborhood.

Furthermore, it’s possible more than 50 percent of the workforce could lose their jobs.

The state is reportedly cutting $71 million from the DOJ and the cuts only affect law enforcement units. This means about 200 out of the 300 agents could lose their jobs.

"It's critical," said Special Agent Supervisor, Ernie Limon, during an exclusive interview with NBCSanDiego.

Limon said agents fill in the gaps between local law enforcement agencies -- but that's not their only job.

"Our department has the Megan's Law database so it's easy for us to look at that database, coordinate cross jurisdictional crimes, monitor these sex offenders and run that sex offender team," said Limon.

A spokesperson for the state's Department of Finance said don't blame Gov. Jerry Brown, blame legislators.

“The governor was very explicit back when he revised his budget in May,” said H.D. Palmer, Deputy Director of Finance. “He said if we have to go to an all cuts budget in May, and we don't extend the revenues, then a number of additional cuts are going to have to go on the table,” Palmer said.

Special Agent Limon said it's unfair that state agents are taking the brunt of the cuts. The legislature didn't listen and the DOJ is paying the price, according to Limon.

"Public safety is at risk,"Limon added.

The union is now trying to persuade Gov. Brown and lawmakers to allow the Attorney General to divide the cuts across all divisions of the DOJ, instead of only targeting the law enforcement divisions.

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