Sheriff Mims Speaks Out

September 9, 2008 11:03:13 PM PDT
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said she would never release inmates early as a way to get more money from County Supervisors. "I told the Supervisors exactly what would happen if they cut my budget. I wasn't kidding, I wasn't fooling, I wasn't playing chicken."She said the decision to open 72 cell doors and release inmates early was tough but not as tough as having to lay off deputies. "It's completely against any philosophy I have but I will not lay off deputy sheriffs and that's the next choice."

During her campaign for Sheriff in 2006 Mims made this promise; "I will fight against letting even one inmate back on the streets of our community due to overcrowded jails before they have served their time." So was that just campaign talk? "I kept my promise. I'm making sure I'm not releasing convicted criminals before they do their time. The people being released are pre-sentenced. They haven't been convicted of anything yet."

Our exclusive Action News poll conducted by Survey USA asked 500 Fresno County residents if they approve of the job Sheriff Mims is doing. 47% approved. 38% disapprove, and 15% said they're not sure.

The poll was conducted last week, after the first groups of inmates were released early from the jail. Mims responded by saying, "I think what people appreciate is that I'm fighting for funding for public safety and I will continue to fight for public safety money that's what I was elected to do."

The same people were asked if they approve of the job being done by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. 30% said they approve and the majority, 54% said they disapprove. 16% weren't sure. Mims said, "I think the public is disappointed when Supervisors say public safety is first but when you look at the funding preference we're number 23 out of 29 departments."

Sheriff Mims said dozens of Fresno County Sheriff Deputies and Community Service Officers came within just hours of getting laid off today until County Supervisors gave her more money for her budget.

Download Detailed SurveyUSA Result Information

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