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The Chronicles of Justice
July 2015
Yolo County District Attorney Newsletter
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From the Desk of the DA

30th Annual National Night Out

On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, from 6pm - 9pm residents throughout the nation will be celebrating with one another in the form of block parties, BBQs and picnics as they take part in the 30th annual National Night Out celebration of public safety and crime prevention.


We encourage every neighborhood to get out there and mingle with your neighbors. One of the best crime deterrents is a watchful neighbor; somebody who knows your daily routine and that can watch your home while you are away. 

The District Attorney's Office, along with many of our local law enforcement and public safety officials, will be on hand to celebrate with the communities in which we all serve.
 

If you would like to host a special event that will require blocking off your street, please contact the police department in your city.
 
Working with At-Risk Youth
 
Youth Gang Reduction and Intervention Program recently held an activity camp in Woodland. Our office (YCDA) collaborated with the Woodland Police Department, Woodland Joint Unified School District, YoloArts,  as well as Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency to deliver this program.

Youth ages 9-12 were recruited into the summer camp with the assistance of the school district. If the youth had a transportation barrier, officers from the Woodland Police Department would pick them up and get them to the camp at the Woodland Community Center. 

During the camp the youth were introduced to a myriad of sports, the arts, and healthy nutrition while also receiving tools to cope with peer pressure and positive decision making. Woodland Police Lt. Heath Parsons, who coordinated the camp said, "The purpose of the camp was to give these youth opportunities that they may not have otherwise had. It was an opportunity to have them see police as regular people and to help them learn about making good choices, recognizing bad situations and understanding the concepts of respect and courtesy to overcome adversity. 

In the coming year Woodland Police will begin the GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program in several elementary schools. They are also exploring a Police Activities League to create more extracurricular athletic opportunities for youth in the community. 

Several years ago, in an effort to step the tde of gang membership and gang violence, the City of Woodland partnered with other government and community leaders to assess community strategies to deter gang membership. In addition to the organizations mentioned above, members of the Yolo County Sheriff's Office, Probation Department and the Public Defender have helped move forward intervention services in an effort to help extricate youth from gangs. Strategies are still being developed to find effective tools to prevent gang membership through building healthy family support when children are beginning elementary school. The Yolo County District Attorney's juvenile prosecutors and the YCDA Truancy Abatement Program have been additional complements to this effort. 


If you want to learn more about the City of Woodland's YGRIP efforts and how you can help, please contact program coordinator Ben Flores at YGRIP@cityofwoodland.org
 or Lt. Parsons at heath.parsons@cityofwoodland.org.

By: Rob Strange, Yolo County District Attorney Chief Invesigator
Tobacco Retail Monitoring Program

The Yolo County District Attorney's Office currently works in conjunction with the Yolo County Health Department to implement and enforce the tobacco retail monitoring program through different areas in Yolo County.  The legal age limit for the sale of all tobacco and tobacco related products is 18 years of age and any sale of tobacco to persons under 18 years of age is a crime. Our investigators go out into any business that sells tobacco or tobacco related products within Yolo County to perform undercover sting operations. Our investigators and enforcement officers are paired with teen decoys who volunteer for this Program. The teen volunteers are 17 and under. They enter with with the purpose of purchasing tobacco products from the store clerk. By law the store clerk is required to check identification and is only allowed to sell tobacco products to adults 18 years and older. Many times however the clerks fail to properly check identification or even ask to see the teen's ID.

The purpose of this program is to ensure that 100 percent of stores which sell tobacco products are in compliance and not selling to kids. We can't be there all the time to check up on them but not knowing when a decoy will attempt a purchase, keeps the stores in check.  Attempted purchases of tobacco were recently conducted, and 2 separate stores sold tobacco to a 15 year old and a 16 year old decoy. In these instances, the store clerk is arrested and given a promise to appear court date for a misdemeanor charge and the store is fined according to the city and county ordinances which prevent them from selling tobacco to kids under age.

This program has been a successful enforcement operation which now puts responsibility not only on the store clerk, but also on the business selling the products. Businesses who violate this ordinance the first time, have their tobacco retail sales license revoked for 10 days. A second violation revokes their license for 90 days. A third violation revokes for 1 year and a fourth violation revokes for 5 years. The successful enforcement of this program has dramatically reduced the unlawful sales of tobacco to kids in our community.

By Paul Hillegass, Yolo County District Attorney Investigator
Workers Compensation Fraud Unit

The YCDA Workers Compensation Fraud Unit aggressively investigates employers who do not carry workers compensation insurance for their employees, employers who lie and falsely report the the number of employees they have in order to lower their insurance premiums and employers who attempt to dissuade employees from filing legitimate workers compensation claims.  The Fraud Unit also investigates employees who fake  injuries or lie to receive benefits they normally would not have been eligible for.     

One of the tasks our investigator conducts spot checks throughout Yolo County checking businesses and construction sites to make sure the employees are properly covered with workers compensation insurance. The DA investigator who performs these random checks issues a businesses a 10 day to prove they have workers compensation insurance for their employees. If employers are unable to provide proof of valid workers compensation insurance within those 10 days, an investigation is initiated to determine if the business has insurance or not. Those who do not have any insurance are prosecuted for violating California labor code 3700.5, which is a misdemeanor violation with a maximum possible fine of $41,000 and up to a year in county jail.

Though most businesses are in compliance there are always those who try to skirt the law at the expense of others. Employees who are injured on the job and find out that their employer does not have workers compensation insurance are faced with no benefits when they most need it. By law, the employee has the right to have their medical bills paid for and receive associated compensation for being out of work. 

The investigative process not only helps the employee but protects the consumer as well. It helps lower the cost of the employee's injury from being passed on to the consumer

By Paul Hillegass, Yolo County District Attorney Investigator
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Upcoming Events
During the Month of August We will be doing Free Mobile Shredding Events with Recall Document Shredding.
#1: August 6 12pm to 4pm @ Eleanor Roosevelt Senior Apartments - 675 Cantrill Drive, Davis CA
#2: August 7 1pm to 5pm @ Valhalla Senior Mobile Home Park.- 3001 Lake Road, West Sacramento, CA 95691
#3: August 15 10am to 2pm @ Winters Community Center, 201 Railroad Ave. Winters, CA
The National Association of Town Watch invites you and your community to join over 37,8 million neighbors across 16,124 communities in celebration of National Night Out, America's Nigh Out Against Crime on Tuesday, August 4th, 2015. There will be events in each of the cities with police departments here in Yolo County so come on out and show your support!
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Our mailing address is:
301 Second Street Woodland, CA 95695

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