California Attorney General Kamala Harris earlier this week told Justice Department staff that only about one-third of the layoffs planned for the beginning of 2012 will actually occur after months of talks with Gov. Jerry Brown's office. About 200 of the layoffs would have hit sworn peace officers and virtually the department's entire Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.
While Harris was trying to get the money restored -- or at least gain some say about how the cuts would be applied -- the Association of Special Agents launched a media and Internet campaign aimed at increasing public pressure on the governor.
In an email Tuesday to staff, posted after the jump, Harris said the cuts have been reduced to 102 sworn officers and 21 support staff. That same day, Harris announced the creation of a new eCrime unit that will fight identity theft, child exploitation, piracy and other crimes that exploit high tech.
We confirmed the staff email's authenticity with department spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill and asked whether there was a connection between Tuesday's announcements: Was the budget cut modified to accommodate the new unit?
No, Gledhill said. The eCrime unit will employ only 20 people, eight of them investigators.
In July of this year, as a result of the allocated budget cut to our Division of Law Enforcement, we were faced with a mandate to lay off 322 DOJ employees, including 203 sworn peace officers and 119 non-sworn personnel. Full implementation of this budget cut would not only have been devastating to our DOJ family, it also would have eliminated our statewide investigative functions and completely shut down two Bureaus of our office.
Over the past several months, I have refused to accept this budget cut as unavoidable, and have done everything possible to reduce its impact and save as many of our agents and non-sworn personnel as possible. Leaders from across this department have joined in the fight and refused to accept a wholesale elimination of the key public safety functions we provide. Our law enforcement partners from across the state have also stepped up and advocated for DLE.
This collaborative work has met with some success. We have been able to significantly reduce the impact these cuts will have on this Department, and reduce the number of sworn layoffs to 102 and the number of non-sworn to 21.
I wish I could say that we didn't have to lose a single agent or one non-sworn team member, but unfortunately I cannot.
We will work diligently in the coming years to rebuild our law enforcement team and restore the essential law enforcement services DLE has historically provided to Californians.
Later today, DLE Director Larry Wallace will email all DLE employees to provide additional information. If you have further questions, please contact Director Wallace or Don Hayashida, Director of the Division of Administrative Services.
PHOTO: Kamala Harris speaks to reporters at The Bee's Capitol Bureau during her campaign for attorney general in 2010. Sacramento Bee / Paul Kitagaki Jr.