Supervisors Dave Roberts and Bill Horn, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Sheriff Bill Gore and The Golden Door pledge financial support to fund Forensic Health Services
San Diego County Board of Supervisors, law enforcement officials, and representatives of the exclusive Golden Door resort today announced their support for the Forensic Health Services of Palomar Health which has been quietly funded by the health system for 30 years.
News of a $75,000 unrestricted gift made by the Golden Door that was matched by the County of San Diego was announced at a press conference held at the County Administration Building in San Diego.
Pictured at left: (left to right) Supervisor Bill Horn, Kim Colonnelli, Cathy McLennan, Maria McEneany (Commissioner on the Status of Women), Supervisor Dave Roberts, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Sheriff Bill Gore.
Supervisor Dave Roberts, who led the efforts to help fund the operating budget shortfall for Forensic Health Services, said the “public-private partnership” helps solve a problem for critical services provided by Palomar Health in San Diego County.
Stephanie Saathoff, a Golden Door representative, whose organization challenged County Board of Supervisors to support the program, said “It is our privilege to support the work of the Forensic Health Services and the critical work provided by Palomar Health.”
Currently, the Forensic Health Center at Fig Street, near Palomar Health Downtown Campus, requires immediate structural upgrades to continue to serve the communities of North San Diego County.
To date, nearly 15,000 victims from infants to young adults and the elderly have been helped by these programs. The services include expert testimony in court, community education, and coordination of monthly inter-agency open case meetings that include representatives from law enforcement agencies. In addition to providing crucial forensic evidence, Palomar Health’s efforts help victims recover and connect with essential support services to aid in recovery.
Sheriff Bill Gore said there is likely not a more “important and sensitive investigation than one involving sexual assault and child abuse.” Upon learning of the program’s funding needs, Gore said the decision to pay higher fees by law enforcement groups for the forensic services was easily reached. “We made a commitment to keep this valuable resource and we thank Palomar Health for the great job they do,” he said.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said the long-standing relationship between Forensic Health and law enforcement is “one of a kind” and is considered the “gold standard” in providing services that are critical to the community’s public safety. “Without this program, victims would have to travel far distances to many services and would have to provide many versions of what happened to them and that’s just not acceptable for victims of such heinous crimes.” Dumanis said her office has “relied on Palomar Health for its renowned services” for decades.
Cathy McLennan, Forensic Health Services Supervisor, stated her appreciation in support of the program and said “Our message is: ‘We were waiting for you. We are here for you'.”
The funds provided will enable the purchase of equipment and for center’s building improvements. The remodeling of the center will include a new H-VAC system, a new roof, and upgrades to make the building ADA compliant including two bathrooms and a shower for victims.