Drugs and money

Lee Seale made one rookie mistake during his first budget hearing Monday as Sacramento County’s new chief probation officer—he forgot to ask for more money.

Seale, 41, appointed in April after a career in state corrections, found himself dumped in the deep fiscal end his first week on the job. He acquitted himself well, laying out what he'd like to do with limited resources to affect change in a high-risk, drug-abuser population currently receiving limited supervision by his undermanned department.

Citing last month's report by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Seale said 78 percent of all people arrested in the county tested positive for some sort of illicit narcotic. That includes 85 percent of property-crime arrestees and 76 percent of people arrested for violent offenses.

“I don't think it's something we should accept as part of our identity,” Seale told the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.

He began to wrap up when board Chairwoman Susan Peters interjected: “Do you want to talk about the budget?”

After the chuckles died down, Seale requested an additional $1.1 million to be spent on drug treatment and supervision for 700 high-risk drug offenders. The plan was short on details, and Seale offered to follow up in the next few weeks with a breakdown.

District Attorney Jan Scully later said the idea, while worthwhile, could put an additional burden on law-enforcement agencies when some of these individuals fail.