Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County Introduces New Gun Violence Unit

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A new team has formed to get illegal guns off South Bay streets, especially those weapons held by suspects with restraining orders for domestic violence.

Five members, including a full-time prosecutor, will be assigned to issue arrest warrants and target suspects in domestic violence cases involving guns.

"We're going to make Santa Clara County dramatically safer," Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez said.

In Santa Clara County, 6,000 felons each year are ordered not to have guns. But the San Jose Police Department and the Santa Clara County Distict Attorney's Office said other county offices need to do their part as well.

The concern comes after NBC Bay Area reported that suspects arrested for being in possession of assault weapons are being released by the courts within hours with no bail.

"Yes, we are frustrated," Deputy District Attorney Marisa McKeown said.

McKeown's office filed the arrest warrants in those cases and feels there needs to be better communication to prevent the releases without more scrutiny.

"From police, to the prosecutors, to the judges and decision makers, need to have the same information about dangerousness," McKeown said.

McKeown hopes the new unit will close loopholes and keep violent suspects in jail until at least after their first court appearance.

"At the end of the day, what we also would hope and expect ... is that pretrial services and judges also help up out on the back end so that when our officers put their lives on the line to bring individuals that are illegally possessing weapons off of our streets, that they are held accountable," said San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia.

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