Palm Beach County administrator: We’re not a sanctuary county

trumpsanctuaryOn Thursday night — around the time the mayor of Miami-Dade County relented to pressure from the Trump administration about Miami-Dade’s designation of “sanctuary county” — Palm Beach County commissioners received an email from a “tax paying, registered democrat voting citizen” who urged them to follow the lead of their neighbor to the south.

There’s one problem.

“We never considered ourselves a sanctuary county,” Deputy County Administrator Jon Van Arnam said. “The board of county commissioners never took any action to make ourselves a sanctuary county.”

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera said in a statement that it’s Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s policy “to follow Federal law as it relates to federal immigration detention requests. Furthermore, ‘PBC never has been or will be a sanctuary county’, per (Bradshaw.)”

Trump said earlier this week sanctuary cities — locales that don’t cooperate with immigration authorities — could lose millions of federal dollars. Many cities are vowing legal action, arguing the threatened punishment would be unconstitutional.

“Right decision. Strong,” the president tweeted Friday morning of the Miami-Dade action.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

Registration for Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Academy starts Feb. 3

cjclogo150Registration runs through 5 p.m. Feb. 3 for the 31st annual Criminal Justice Academy of the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission.

The 10-week free program runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on consecutive Mondays,  Feb. 6 to April 17.

Lectures are provided by local, state and federal law enforcement professionals. Participants will learn about local law enforcement including special operations at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. They will tour the main jail, a courthouse, and the Medical Examiner’s Office. For the first month, classes will be held at West Palm Beach Police headquarters at 600 Banyan Street in West Palm Beach.

Registration is limited to 50 people. Call (561) 355-4943 or visit www.pbcgov.org/criminaljustice

Palm Beach County phone lines down for several hours today

1A_CELLPHONE_UPDATE: Except for a few dozen lines, all phone service was restored as of around 3 p.m.

About 6,000 telephone lines, to many Palm Beach County offices, went down early Monday morning, most for a half hour or so but some until 1 p.m. and the Tax Collector, and Animal Care and Control remained out as of around 2:30 p.m., according to Michael Butler, the county’s director of network services.

Butler said he hoped to have everything back up by the end of the day. He said the county still didn’t know the cause but was working with representatives of its vendor that are based in Texas and Germany.

He said the general switchboards for county offices and the courts were out to inbound calls until about 1 p.m. and the courts and  Public Defender was out briefly.

Not affected: the county’s Emergency Operations Center,  Sheriff’s Office, Fire-Rescue, and State Attorney.

Palm Beach County tweaks down its figures for cost of jailing minor pot offenders

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
Van Arnam
Van Arnam

County managers now say the cost of housing people caught with small amounts of pot is less than a third of what a study previously had concluded.

In an overview provided last week to Palm Beach County Commissioners, deputy county manager John Van Arnam said a Criminal Justice Commission review showed the county spent $1.1 million over the last seven years to jail people caught with 20 grams or less of marijuana.

But in an update sent out Monday, Van Arnam said Palm Beach County Sheriff’s officials challenged the math, saying the county should examine only the cost of housing people arrested just for misdemeanor possession. Using that calculation, the total came to only $322,245.

County commissioners passed an ordinance last year that would mean a fine or community service instead of jail time for those caught with 20 grams or less. But the PBSO  said it

Taylor
Taylor

would continue to enforce tougher state laws that make possession of small amounts of pot a criminal offense.

County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, who ordered the review, has argued the money spent jailing people picked up for simple possession be pulled from PBSO’s budget and come out of its pocket.

Annual jailing costs — calculated down from last week’s figure of $159,000 to $46,035 — are a tiny fraction of PBSO’s massive budget, $560 million in the 2016 budget year.

Glades to host criminal justice academy

PHi_j0193This summer, for the first time, the Glades will host a “citizens’ criminal justice academy.”

The academy will meet from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on consecutive Thursdays, June 9, 16, 23, and 30, at the Belle Glade Library/Civic Center, at 725 N.W. 4th St., in Belle Glade.

Sponsors are the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization.

The academy is designed to teach lay people about specific aspects of the criminal justice system and how decisions are made. Participants will see demonstrations, meet with decision makers involved with criminal justice, and tour the jail.

Participants must be at least 16 and can earn up to 12 community service hours.

Applications are required; visit http://www.pbcgov.org/criminaljustice or call 561-355-4943.