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SANTA ANA : Criminal Justice Panel Plan Receives Support

October 06, 1994|SUSAN MARQUEZ OWEN

Youth crimes and jail and courtroom overcrowding are some of the pressing law enforcement issues that county officials propose to tackle with a new countywide criminal justice council.

The proposed Orange County Criminal Justice Coordination Council could improve communications between heads of the county's criminal justice system, social service agencies and other county departments. It had its first public airing Wednesday and received the go-ahead from about 30 county judges and other officials.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Thomas F. Riley said he is supporting the plan partly because of his concern about youth violence. Riley said he hopes that school and county Social Services Agency representatives will work with law enforcement to come up with new ideas on how to curb youth crime.

"It's no secret the problems and concerns that youngsters in our community are causing," Riley said. "Locking these people up is not helping. . . . I want to make sure something positive is happening."

The council would be modeled after a similar 13-year-old program in Los Angeles County and the proposal is expected to go before the Board of Supervisors later this month.

The judges and county officials gave their support Wednesday after hearing from Los Angeles County Supervisor Edmund D. Edelman, who urged Orange County leaders to move ahead with the proposed council.

The Los Angeles council had helped that county to cut costs and come up with innovative ways to handle problems by uniting all the heads of key departments to work on common goals, said Edelman, who spearheaded efforts to form the Los Angeles council in 1981.

The Orange County council could help coordinate efforts against illegal immigration, domestic violence and youth crime, said Ron Coley, public safety manager for the county administrative office.

Coley said he began working on the proposal for a new council 18 months ago.

Riley said he could not estimate how much the council will cost, and expects the county administrative office to begin exploring the question.

Coley estimated that the county would need to hire two or three more staffers to run the council.

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