|Number of rural deputies per 100 square miles|
(McClatchy map, click here to view the interactive version.)
Four McClatchy reporters compared crime rates and law-enforcement staffing in 25 rural counties (as defined by the California Communities Program) and compared them with the state's urban counties. They interviewed residents, sheriffs and deputies in 20 counties.
"Departments in multiple jurisdictions are operating with skeleton staffs . . . pushing response times into hours, or sometimes leaving residents without a response at all," Anita Chabria, Ryan Sabalow, Dale Kasler and Phillip Reese report. "When law enforcement does arrive in many outlying places, it’s often a single officer cut off from backup and, in some cases, communication with her or his department."
The summary offered by Sheriff Mike Poindexter of Modoc County, in the state's northeastern corner, exemplified more than a dozen rural sheriffs McClatchy interviewed: "We have no money. We have no people . . . We don't have near enough people. We just don't."