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Money Requested for River Rock Casino Policing

6 June 2005

CALIFORNIA – As reported by the California Press-Democrat: "Sonoma County Sheriff Bill Cogbill wants $700,000 to increase patrols in northern Sonoma County, citing increased calls for service to River Rock Casino, the county's first Indian gaming hall.

"Supervisor Paul Kelley shares the sheriff's concern that the casino is diverting law enforcement from the rest of his north county district - and both know where to get the money to hire more deputies.

"But unlike some other counties, Sonoma County is not yet willing to strike a deal with the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, which owns the casino opened 2½ years ago on the tribe's 75-acre Alexander Valley hilltop property.

"…The county, instead, is pressing its court fight for access and some level of control over the gaming establishment. But it's not clear how long the fight will last.

"Calls for deputies to respond to the casino increased by 51 percent, from 85 calls in 2003 to 128 calls in 2004, according to the Sheriff's Department.

"In the nearby Geyserville community, an area of about two square miles, calls for service were steady at 1,053 in 2003 and 1,050 in 2004.

"…The tribe is paying $336,000 a year for emergency services from the Geyserville Fire Protection District, and has agreed to give another $550,000 a year to the Geyserville schools and the Healdsburg hospital district.

"…A fund supported by gaming tribes statewide gives the Sheriff's Department $110,000 a year that pays for weekend overtime by deputies patrolling near the casino…"

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