Governor Schwarzenegger today announced more than $5 million in state grant funds to be distributed to six sheriffs' departments to support their efforts to monitor, investigate, apprehend and prosecute habitual sex offenders in California.
"Protecting the safety and well-being of all Californians is my top priority," said Governor Schwarzenegger.  "The threat of sex offenders in our communities is real, and local sheriffs' departments must be equipped to track parole violators and prevent future assaults.  The grants awarded today will provide local communities with the funding and resources they need to keep Californians safe from harm."
The grants for the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Team Program will be administered by the Office of Emergency Services.  The funding, authorized in the 2006-2007 budget, will help apprehend and prosecute the nearly 15,000 sex offenders who are in violation of their registration requirements.  
The purpose of the SAFE Team Program is two-fold: 1) to increase the registration compliance rate of sex offenders, and to arrest and prosecute sex offenders who violate the terms and conditions of their probation or parole, who fail to comply with registration requirements, or who commit new sexual offenses; and 2) to deliver public education on Megan's Law in order to protect the public from sexual assault.
California's Megan's Law provides the public with certain information on the whereabouts of sex offenders so that members of local communities may protect themselves and their children.
The six county sheriffs' offices selected through the competitive regional grant process are as follows:
Los Angeles County Sheriff:  $1,199,000
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff:  $687,750
Santa Clara County Sheriff:  $953,250
Sacramento County Sheriff:  $799,350
Tulare County Sheriff:  $639,000
Riverside County Sheriff:  $731,950
The amount of money allotted to each county is based on the number of sex offenders.  The SAFE Team program will provide local law enforcement agencies in these counties with additional resources to monitor the registered sex offenders living within their jurisdictions. The core membership of these SAFE Teams is comprised of police officers, sheriff's deputies, probation and/or parole officers, prosecutors, and non-profit victim service advocacy organizations.
In 2002, the Legislature authorized and encouraged law enforcement agencies to establish SAFE Teams. The Legislature found that habitual sex offenders posed a significant risk to the welfare and safety of the residents of California, and that predatory sex offenders frequently traveled to areas outside of the jurisdictions where they lived in order to evade surveillance and possible arrest by local law enforcement agencies for probation or parole violations.
The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 18 percent of all women have been raped at some time in their lives, and that more than half (54 percent) were under 18 when they experienced their first rape. OES provides funding to 84 Rape Crisis Centers throughout the state.  Last year, these centers provided crisis intervention services to more than 26,000 victims of sexual assault.
According to the Attorney General's Crime in California Report, there were 9,598 forcible rapes reported to law enforcement agencies in California in 2004. However, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that only 28 percent of all rapes and sexual assaults are ever reported to law enforcement.