Rent-free sheriff substation also staff free

By: Penne Usher Telegraph Correspondent
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Initially designed to offer the El Dorado Hills community a more obvious police presence, the sheriff’s office substation is usually more like an empty shell. In June 2010 the substation opened in the El Dorado Hills Town Center at 4354 Town Center Blvd. Suite 112, next to Mechanics Bank. “Town Center is where most people go for food and entertainment, so it makes sense to be in the middle of all that,” said El Dorado County spokes-man Mike Applegarth in a previous interview. According to then-Sheriff Fred Kollar, the space is rent-free. “Tony Mansour made us an offer we couldn’t refuse,” Kollar said when the station was opened. The department pays utilities. The office is in a highly visible location and better equipped to give residents the perception of safety. Three deputies are assigned to El Dorado Hills at any given time and the station was designed to be a logistical destination to file reports, take lunches and breaks, and schedule appointments. According to a county news release, the substation will provide area residents with information relating to crime reporting, crime prevention and various other processes when a deputy is present at the substation, however, that rarely occurs. At various times and days throughout the last week, the office was closed. According Lt. Bryan Golmitz, the small office is used primarily for filing documents and that occurs rarely. “The substation is not a manned station,” he said. “It has deputies who will stop in there to write reports and meet with people as needed, but it is not staffed.” Karla Smithstone said she wanders around the center weekly, and only recently saw the substation. “I really never noticed it before,” she said. “That’s probably because we don’t have a lot of trouble down here.”