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The Sun is Rising on Public Safety in Sacramento

Feb 06, 2024 02:28PM ● By Kristina Rogers
District Attorney Thien Ho giving the State of Public Safety Address. Photo courtesy of District Attorney’s Office


SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - On January 31st, Sacramento District Attorney Thien Ho gave a public safety address to a packed room at Clunie Hall. Guests included Police Chief Kathy Lester, elected officials, colleagues, community leaders, crime victims, and friends.   D.A. Ho laid out his department's mission and here are a few important highlights.

To begin, since January 2021, more than 600 people have died in Sacramento County of Fentanyl. D.A. Ho explained those numbers are expected to rise. Most parents don't know social media is the leading platform for drug dealers. Counterfeit pills mixed with fentanyl are marketed online as "prescription pills."

Laura Didier was there to share her story about how her own son got access to one such counterfeit pill. It was Christmas break in 2020. Her son Zack was a straight-A student, athlete, and musician. He was a good kid, and parents didn't seem to have any reason to worry. Unfortunately, Zack went online and bought a pill marketed as a prescription Percocet, but it wasn't. He tried it once, and his father found him dead in his bedroom. It was a somber reminder deadly drugs are now easily accessible to anyone, anywhere. With tears, Laura said, "He'll always be 17."

Laura Didier sharing her story about her beloved son. Photo courtesy of District Attorney’s Office


Heartbroken, she wanted to make something good from this tragedy. Didier partnered with the District Attorney’s office to promote "one pill can kill."  Now she joins Thien Ho and Angela Webb to speak at educational school forums about fentanyl awareness. They plan on expanding their youth-focused program in 2024. To learn more about One Pill Can Kill and watch Zack's story, go to: 1pillcankillsac.com.

Awareness is vital to helping protect our communities, but accountability is equally essential. Thien Ho is working with other District Attorneys to provide harsher sentences for drug dealers. The loss of even one life is too much to allow a dealer to walk away without real consequences.

He noted January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month. According to the California Department of Justice, California is the #1 state for human trafficking: https://oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking/what-is. The Human Trafficking Unit in the District Attorney’s office partners with the Sacramento Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF), which includes the Sacramento County Sherriff, FB, and Sacramento Police Department. And while they aggressively pursue and prosecute human traffickers, child predators, and domestic abusers, there is a new outreach arm. Victims of these crimes can go to GetHelpSac.org for answers. There, they can access organizations like My Sisters House, Weave, and the Community Against Sexual Harm (CASH).

The discussion moved to the fear and crime our local businesses and property owners are experiencing. It's no secret that retail theft has skyrocketed in California. The D.A.'s office is taking aim with a new organized retail theft unit. Not only are they focused on fighting the crimes that shutter our local businesses, but D.A. Ho is advocating for answers to nearby encampments as well. He noted that these homeless camps “put people between compassion and chaos.”

To help people on the street get back on their feet, Thien Ho supports the development of a shelter model called Hope for Sacramento. This model allows anyone on the streets to get shelter and move toward sobriety and housing at a reasonable pace (hopeforsacramento.org).

District Attorney Ho knows Incarceration isn't the only solution to crime. This is why his office has another answer. Non-violent offenders will receive an opportunity at redemption with the new Changing Courses program. Instead of prison, those accused of a crime can choose to enter an apprenticeship program in the trades. If they complete the program, they can move toward a lucrative job, and a real future. D.A. Ho explained, "This allows them to change their course from a life of crime to a life of construction."

Still, there is another hurdle that our law enforcement professionals can’t handle alone. Current legislation in California is one of the biggest obstacles to public safety. That is why Thien Ho and District Attorneys across California are advocating for a measure to be added to the fall ballot called The Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act. Many law enforcement professionals point to Prop 47 as a contributor to the rise in crime across California. It's been ten years since the proposition passed, and they believe it is time to change things. Interested folks can review the petition details and how to get involved go to; casafecommunities.com.

The presentation ended on a hopeful note. D.A. Ho believes Sacramento has been sleeping, and although it’s a slow process, she is waking up. The sunrise is coming, and our Thien Ho is welcoming us with coffee.

To review the entire presentation and learn more about the Sacramento District Attorney's office, go to: sacda.org.

Thein Ho and Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester. Photo courtesy of District Attorney’s Office


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