On Tuesday night Santa Maria and Lompoc City Councils are expected to approve an agreement that will help local police departments save money and time by using the City of Lompoc’s jail facilities to hold arrestees.
In July, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department announced that it would close its North County jail facilities due to budgetary constraints.
Shuttering the facility meant that those arrested by local police departments would have to be transported to the main county jail facility in Goleta.
“That closure placed a tremendous burden upon law enforcement agencies that previously utilized the Santa Maria Branch Jail,” Lompoc Police Department Capt. Deanna Clement said in a report to the Lompoc City Council.
The trip to Goleta from Santa Maria is about 128 miles, round-trip. The trip to Lompoc City Jail is only about 50 miles round-trip, according to Santa Maria Police Chief Phil Hansen.
“Staff views this alternative booking option as a way to save drive time for officers, wear and maintenance on patrol vehicles and overtime expenses needed to cover for officers that are being pulled from patrol and driving to the South Coast for prisoner transport purposes,” Hansen said in his report to the Santa Maria City Council.
The Lompoc city jail is a Type I facility. It can only hold prisoners for a maximum of 96 hours and no one is sentenced to time at the Lompoc jail.
The facility is rated for 23 prisoners at any given time. There are 16 beds, and a sobering cell.
According to Clement, the average daily population of the jail in 2016 was about six prisoners.
Most area police agencies that use the jail will have to pay for the opportunity. According to the agreements the councils are expected to approve, the City of Santa Maria will pay Lompoc about $147 per prisoner booked at the jail. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department would reimburse Lompoc for all costs associated with its prisoners.
The City of Guadalupe will be able to use the jail too, but its fee will be waived. Instead the small North County city will continue its already established manpower assistance program.
The City of Lompoc and Santa Barbara County accept bookings from the California Highway Patrol at no cost, Clement said.
Hansen estimates Santa Maria police will book about 500 arrestees per year. Guadalupe’s Police Chief Gary Hoving estimates that his department will only have about 50 bookings a year.