Inter-Departmental Correspondence



November 5, 2003


December 2, 2003



Honorable Board of Supervisors


Sheriff Don Horsley


FY 2003-04 Vehicle Theft Task Force Budget


Adopt a Resolution approving the recommendation of the Countywide Vehicle Theft Task Force (VTTF) Advisory Board to approve the FY 2003-04 Vehicle Theft Task Force Budget.



The Countywide Vehicle Theft Task Force (VTTF): coordinates the activities of county and regional State law enforcement agencies involved in the prevention of vehicle thefts; provides intensive theft detection, criminal investigation, surveillance, apprehension and arrest of suspects involved in vehicle theft activity; provides ongoing technical and investigative support to individual police departments investigating vehicle theft crimes; and provides both law enforcement investigation training, and theft prevention education to a variety of community groups.

The VTTF is comprised of special agents assigned from the Sheriff's Office, California Highway Patrol, and various city police departments on a rotating basis (currently, Daly City and South San Francisco Police Departments.) Funding for the VTTF program is derived primarily from a $1.00 surcharge imposed on all vehicle registrations in San Mateo County, and the annual operating budget is self-contained within a special trust fund established when the VTTF was formed. The VTTF operates at no net cost to participating agencies - position costs and operating expenses are financed from the special trust fund.

San Mateo County is the lead agency in VTTF, and the VTTF Fund is maintained through the County Controller's Office, and administered by the Sheriff's Office.

Oversight of VTTF activities is provided through the VTTF Advisory Board, composed of County and City law enforcement department heads. The VTTF Advisory Board is currently chaired by the Sheriff, and Supervisor Mike Nevin is currently the Board representative on the Advisory Board. Other members include District Attorney Jim Fox, Captain Fritz Eberly of the California Highway Patrol, and Chief Mark Raffaelli of South San Francisco Police Department. Captain Trisha L. Sanchez from the Sheriff's Special Investigation Unit is currently the Joint Task Force Commander for both the VTTF and the Countywide Narcotics Task Force (CNTF). The VTTF annual operating budget is reviewed and approved by the VTTF Advisory Board, and ratified by the County Board of Supervisors.


Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators have been tracked and reported since 1996-97, from which it is clear that Task Force efforts to reduce vehicle theft in San Mateo County have continued to be largely successful. The program makes approximately 30 - 40 direct arrests per year, and additionally assists County police departments in about 145 investigations and arrests annually, providing specialized crime analysis, officer training, surveillance, undercover operations support, and theft-ring intelligence. Throughout all years of tracking, San Mateo County's percentage of statewide vehicle theft (about 1.2%) remains less than half (averaging round 40%) of our percentage of statewide registered vehicles (about 2.6%.) Moreover, while vehicle thefts have increased by 12.8% in the general Bay Area over 2002-03, San Mateo County experienced an 8.4% decrease in vehicle theft in calendar year 2002, and has only experienced an increase of 1.2% for the first 1/3 of 2003 (latest statistical period available), compared with the same period for the prior year.


Vision Alignment

The operations of the countywide Vehicle Theft Task Force align with Commitment no. 7 - maintaining and enhancing the public safety of residents and visitors - as well as Commitment no. 22 - County and local governments effectively communicate, collaborate and develop strategic solutions to regional issues.

County Counsel

County has approved this report as to form.


Discussion and Fiscal Impact

The VTTF budget is normally brought to the Board by May of each year, during the time that the County, State and cities budgets are being adopted.

The VTTF fulltime workforce is comprised of one Supervising Special Agent (currently a Sheriff's Sergeant) and four Special Agents. One of the Special Agents is a Sheriff's Office position. The remaining three currently filled positions are from the California Highway Patrol, Daly City and the South San Francisco Police Departments. Administrative oversight and support are provided by the CNTF/VTTF Joint Commander (25% time), and by additional portions of time of two existing Legal Office Specialists (25% time each) and an existing Sheriff's Financial Crimes & Administrative Sergeant (10% time) who primarily works in narcotics operations. Additional expenses include officer overtime pay, Task Force operating expenses, County Service Charges, and vehicle replacement.

The total VTTF annual budget is $946,521 a decrease of $67,153 over FY 2002-03. The FY 2003-04 operating budget was reduced from FY 2002-03, at the direction of the VTTF Advisory Board, due to the ever increasing cost of Agents salaries and operating expenses needed to sustain the Vehicle Theft Task Force in contrast to the DMV surcharge revenues remaining flat. The VTTF operates at no net cost to participating agencies. Salary reimbursements for Sheriff's Office personnel and shared rental space are already budgeted within the Sheriff's Office FY 2003-04 Adopted Budget. Despite some delays due to California's budget and our staffing changes, there is no additional fiscal impact from adoption of this annual Resolution ratifying the FY 2003-04 Recommended Budget from the VTTF Advisory Board.

cc: VTTF Advisory Board Members