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County supervisors strengthen policy on where to place SVP in San Diego

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Matthew Bowler
"No trick or treat here" is written in chalk on the sidewalk outside of the proposed property for a sexually violent predator in Rancho Bernardo, Oct. 4, 2021.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved strengthening the county policy on the placement of sexually violent predators by verifying state compliance and a better communication system.

Based on a proposal by Supervisors Joel Anderson and Jim Desmond, the board:

  • Directed county departments to review and verify that the Department of State Hospitals — and its conditional release program contractor — comply with all applicable state and local laws, and other requirements when searching for and securing housing for sexually violent predators conditionally released into the county; and
  • Directed Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer to develop a communications plan so county staff have a transparent notification process for, and receive public feedback on, any proposed placements of sexually violent predators.

Earlier this month, supervisors unanimously voted to oppose any further placements of sexually violent predators until local jurisdictions are able to fully participate in the placement process, including having full veto authority.

Supervisors also asked Robbins-Meyer to send a letter communicating the county's position to the California Department of State Hospitals and other relevant agencies.

The board's actions follow a since-withdrawn proposal to release sexually violent predator Douglas Badger to a home in the Rancho Bernardo neighborhood, a move strongly opposed by area residents.

After Tuesday's vote, Anderson said he was grateful to his colleagues for "helping me ensure county staff plays an active role in holding the Department of State Hospitals and its agents accountable, and ensure no corners are being cut during this process."