(FOX40.COM) — Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper recently called out retail companies for his perceived lack of cooperation in combating theft, but some organization officials say the situation is more nuanced.
“All retailers always want to work with law enforcement to try to combat this growing problem,” said President of the California Retailer Association (CRA) Rachel Michelin to FOX40. ‘It’s facing neighborhoods and communities across the state of California.”
Michelin was one of several retail organization members that Cooper recently aimed his frustrations at on social media.
“I get his frustration. I’m frustrated. I wish that we were moving faster on finding solutions to this problem – but I will say that the California Retailers Association has been directly involved in trying to provide resources,” Michelin said. “Just last month over $300 million in local law enforcement grants went out from the governor’s office of which it was the retailer’s association, myself personally, who negotiated and worked with the governor on that.”
She added the sheriff’s office received $9.4 million to help retail theft and she is focused on resolutions and working collaboratively with any parties who want to work with the California Retail Association to combat theft.
“There’s a lot of opinions on how you do that, and I welcome all opportunities to find solutions,” Michelin said. “Going back on social media doesn’t solve the problem.”
The full interview with Michelin can be found on FOX40.com.
Although Cooper is not known to blast people on social media, he said it was a last resort after feeling like ‘enough is enough’.
“I’m just fed up with it. We want to help. It’s a big issue – it’s a nationwide issue, and really big here in California. How do we change that narrative and really hold these people accountable?” Cooper told FOX40.
He added that he appreciates the $9 million the department received from Governor Gavin Newsom’s office but there’s not much the money can do if the law still protects shoplifters.
“The big issue is the law is still the law. If you (shoplifters) stay below the $950 threshold all you’re going to get is a citation and told to go on your way,” Cooper said. “That’s a big issue. You have to change the law.”
Cooper referred to Prop 47 which was passed by California voters in 2014. It is known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act and reduces most drug possession offenses and thefts of property valued under $950.00 from felonies to misdemeanors.
Cooper places blame for the spike in retail theft on Prop 47 but takes aim at retailers because corporate leaders prevent the sheriff’s department from making arrests or citing shoplifters from within their stores.