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Graphic of Sheriff Villanueva next to Hall Of Justice
Sheriff’s RESPONSE TO LA TIMES 1024 249 SIB Staff

Sheriff’s RESPONSE TO LA TIMES

January 2, 2020

Los Angeles Times Editorial Board

2300 East Imperial Highway

El Segundo, California  90245

Dear Los Angeles Times Editorial Board:

SHERIFF VILLANUEVA’S RESPONSE TO THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

The year 2019 is now over, and it is an appropriate time to look back on what we have achieved by reforming, rebuilding, and restoring the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to better serve our community. I campaigned on that promise, and I delivered on that promise as well. For those keeping score, violent crime is down 7% in the areas policed by LASD, aided by a 15% drop in homicides, and another 15% drop in burglaries.

There was good news in other important areas as well. Jail violence is down across the board, with a 33% drop in inmates assaulting each other, a 27% drop in inmates assaulting staff, and a 10% drop in deputies using force against inmates. These figures are a welcome change from five years of increase after increase in jail violence, and they were achieved without changing any reform measures put into place by previous administrations.

The successful hiring and retention of sworn personnel, something that eluded previous administrations, has turned out to be a resounding success, with a healthy 65% increase in hiring over the average of the previous four years. This was achieved by scrupulously adhering to state standards for the hiring of peace officers, and newfound faith in the direction the department is going.

Recruitment and hiring is now a local effort only, ensuring that our deputies are serving the communities they grew up in, and have a vested interest of well-being.

The leadership diversity of the LASD has changed drastically in my first year in office, with women and minorities now occupying every single rung of the hierarchy, something that was impossible in the past. Both the line staff and the leadership of the department are now a true reflection of the rich diversity of Los Angeles County, another singular achievement previously out of reach.

The disciplinary system, long a source of contention between the department and the unions representing the rank-and-file members, is now a model of reform. Policies were introduced to strengthen investigative integrity, ban the formation of subgroups and cliques, and improve accountability, all while honoring due process and procedural justice for the workforce.

What the Times and my critics have failed to recognize is that in order to attract a highly qualified workforce, I have to be a fair and stable employer. A punitive and erratic employer with double standards only results in a flight of deputies to greener pastures – a direct threat to public safety. As my record now shows, I have no reservation terminating employees who fail to uphold the high standards of the Sheriff’s Department.

In 2019 I terminated 30 employees, each one for cause based on evidence, not agendas. I rehired exactly six deputies; all as a correction to bad employment decisions made by the previous administration. The first was rehired based on solid evidence that showed he was both falsely accused and wrongfully terminated. The evidence to rehire was far greater than that used to condemn him. Four of those rehired resulted from an order by the Civil Service Commission, and the last was initiated by one of my predecessors’ division chiefs on the belief that termination was excessive based on the facts of the case.

The Times would have the reader believe all is doom and gloom with the Sheriff’s Department under my command, however the opposite is the case. By removing ICE agents from LASD facilities, rejecting federal grant money in exchange for the database of undocumented inmates, and improving on SB54, we have now seen transfers to ICE custody drop by 53%. At the same time, we have been working closely with advocacy groups such as the Coalition of Humane Immigration Rights Los Angeles, the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, and the Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs, in order to build trust with our many immigrant communities.

I have increased threefold the number of deputies dedicated to our Homeless Outreach Services Team, and we are initiating an engagement model of policing for all of the communities.  A policing model which places an emphasis on partnerships, problem-solving, alternatives to incarceration, and using enforcement action as a tool of last resort, not first.

In closing, what I’ve discovered to be true as sheriff runs contrary to the Times’ false narrative. Accountability and exacting performance standards of conduct are no substitute for ethical leadership and caring about the welfare of every employee. One cannot demand deputies respect the constitutional rights of our citizens if their own leadership cannot be trusted to respect theirs. Constitutional policing is a two way street – only when the community and the department work together we can make Los Angeles County a safer place for all. To that end, we did just that in 2019 and look forward to expanding our engagement efforts across all of our sprawling and incredibly diverse jurisdictions. I can only hope and pray that in 2020 the Times Editorial Board finds the courage to be more honest in their coverage of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Sincerely,

ALEX VILLANUEVA

SHERIFF

Graphic of Sheriff Villanueva next to Hall Of Justice
Statement: Middle East Threat 1/03/20 1024 249 SIB Staff

Statement: Middle East Threat 1/03/20

Nearly every nationality in the world can be found in the County of Los Angeles. Keeping all residents and visitors safe is always a top priority. We at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are aware of the unfolding events in the Middle East.

At this time, there are no specific credible threats to the Los Angeles area.  Our Sheriff’s Intelligence Unit is working with our local, state, and federal partners to monitor and investigate any potential threats should they arise. 

Your Sheriff’s Department has thousands of uniformed deputies on-duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week, protecting the varying communities we serve throughout the county. We are ready to respond to any threat.

However, we could always use information. I ask all of you to remain vigilant and report any information about potential incidents to your local law enforcement.  If you wish to remain anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), using your smartphone by downloading the “P3 MOBILE APP” on Google play or the App Store, or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org

As always, if you see something of an emergent nature, please call 9-1-1.

graphic of The great shakeout event
The Great Shakeout 900 900 SIB Staff

The Great Shakeout

300 miles away, on October 15, 2019, a 4.8 mag #earthquake hit Northern California. Now is the perfect time to prepare & participate in the #InternationalShakeOut drill on Oct 17th! Don’t wait until it’s too late! Join #LASD and register at https://shakeout.org

Sheriff Villanueva Town hall meeting
Lomita Town Hall Meeting 500 500 SIB Staff

Lomita Town Hall Meeting

Residents of the city of #Lomita , come meet Sheriff Alex Villanueva for an evening of information and dialogue regarding your community concerns. Have your voice heard at the Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, June 25th at 6:30 p.m.

Deputies holding blue lights in front of capital at night
SO CAL PEACE OFFICERS’ MEMORIAL. 400 286 SIB Staff

SO CAL PEACE OFFICERS’ MEMORIAL.

#LASD IS PROUD TO ATTEND THE SO CAL CALIFORNIA PEACE OFFICERS’ MEMORIAL.

#LASD is proud to attend the So Cal California Peace Officers’ Memorial 2019 in Sacramento this week, along with many of our SoCal law enforcement partners to honor those who have fallen. Last Night, in Sacramento for the California Peace Officers Memorial, we stood in unison, collectively, to show dedication to the memory of those who have fallen.

The candles in our hands act as symbols; their light reminding us the spirit of our fellow fallen brothers and sisters will always shine bright, even in darkness. The California Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremonies are held the first week of May on the State Capitol grounds, at the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Monument in Sacramento. They serve to formally enroll peace officers who have died in the line of duty the preceding year, pay tribute to the over 1500 officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice since California became a state in 1850, and to honor the families left behind.

This year’s honorees are: Deputy Steven E. Belanger Los Angeles Co. Sheriff’s Department EOW: Feb 06, 2018 Officer Greggory Casillas Pomona Police Department EOW: Mar 09, 2018 Deputy Sheriff Ryan Zirkle Marin County Sheriff’s Office EOW: Mar 15, 2018 Officer Kirk Griess CHP – Solano Area Office EOW: Aug 10, 2018 Deputy Mark Stasyuk Sacramento Co. Sheriff’s Department EOW: Sep 17, 2018 Sergeant Ron Helus Ventura Co. Sheriff’s Office EOW: Nov 08, 2018 Deputy Tony Hinostroza III Stanislaus Co. Sheriff’s Department EOW: Nov 25, 2018 Corporal Ronil Singh Newman Police Department EOW: Dec 26, 2018

Today, we at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department gather in the state’s Capitol to honor those fallen members of our beloved profession. They have paid the ultimate sacrifice ‘their lives’ in the service of others. We stand together to call their names for the world to hear during the 2019 California Peace Officer’s Memorial Enrollment Ceremony.

Credit card sitting on a Keyboard
Protect your information 400 400 SIB Staff

Protect your information

Protect your information

#FraudFriday- EBT Scam Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) has issued a warning about the latest scam targeting Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cardholders using U.S. mail to attain client personal information fraudulently. There are two ways this scam works: The first method: The first one EBT card holders are receiving a letter in the mail, to call a phone number to renew their social service benefits.

Once the victim calls, they are asked to provide personal information to what they think is an official representative, when in fact it is a scammer. These scammers ask the victim to provide personal information which in turn will be used to open fake accounts. The second method: Cardholders are receiving text messages and/or phone calls instructing the victim to call back. Upon call back, an automated recording asks them to provide personal information including their EBT 16-digit card number and PIN. When that information is given, the scammers create a duplicate card and withdraw funds from the victim’s accounts.

Some of the fraudulent phone numbers currently being used are: (559) 461-9778 and (858) 232-3581. Helpful tips to prevent being a victim of this scam: • Cardholders should not provide any information. • Cardholders who have already provided card numbers and PINs to a third party should call the phone number on the back of their EBT card and change their PINs or report their EBT cards as lost or stolen. EBT cardholders should never provide personal information to unknown third parties. If anyone receives such a letter or suspects that they’ve been a victim of this scam, they should immediately call the phone number on the back of their EBT card, change their PIN and report their EBT card as lost or stolen.

Here are a few ways to make sure your identity is not compromised:

• Know who you are giving your information

• Store and dispose of your personal information securely, especially your Social Security Number

• Ask as many questions necessary before you feel confidential you are giving your information to a legitimately representative

• Maintain appropriate security on your electronic devices

Please call the DPSS Customer Service Call Center at (866) 613-3777 if you believe that you have been a victim of a phone or text scam.

Sheriff Villanueva on horsback with mounted deputies in parade
Lasd’s Mounted Enforcement Detail 400 400 SIB Staff

Lasd’s Mounted Enforcement Detail

BEAR GOES EVERYWHERE

#BearGoesEverywhere This week the Bear followed our @LACOSheriff, Alex Villanueva, to the incredible county area of Lake Los Angeles, located in an area called the Antelope Valley. Sheriff Alex Villanueva, accompanied by LASD’s Mounted Enforcement detail, acted as the Grand Marshal in the 25th Annual “Cinco de Mayo” parade and festival.

The unincorporated county area for Lake Los Angeles is patrolled by Lancaster Sheriff’s Station which has 189 sworn personnel and 74 civilian personnel assigned. Lancaster Station is located in the beautiful Antelope Valley, approximately 55 miles northeast of the City of Los Angeles. Station personnel patrol an area of more than 600 square miles, including the contract City of Lancaster, and communities of Lake Los Angeles, Quartz Hill, and Antelope Acres. Quality law enforcement services are provided for over 190,000 residents.

You can read about our Mounted Enforcement Detail by visiting https://www.facebook.com/LosAngelesCountySheriffsDepartment/posts/2711950582165171) Until next time, everyone stay safe and look out for the Bear in your city.#LASD

Deputy operating Water hose on boat in harbor
LASD HARBOR PATROL 400 266 SIB Staff

LASD HARBOR PATROL

LASD HARBOR PATROL, NOT YOUR TYPICAL WORK DAY

The Harbor Patrol detail is responsible for law enforcement on the water and on the docks. Part of the detail’s job is education and crime prevention. Typical observations or calls for service range from enforcement stops for boating law or safety violations to open water rescue and medical emergencies. In the past couple of years the boat detail has responded as first responders to incidents such as airplane crashes, numerous boat fires and explosions, cars in the water and capsized vessels. If you have questions about joining our department, contact LASD Recruitment Unit anytime!

Nurse talking to an inmate
HAPPY #NATIONALNURSESDAY! 365 300 SIB Staff

HAPPY #NATIONALNURSESDAY!

HAPPY #NATIONALNURSESDAY!

Happy #NationalNursesDay! Today begins #NationalNursesWeek , in recognition of the hard work, long hours & dedication to the nursing profession. #LASD celebrates their passion to improve healthcare- we’ll spend the week acknowledging the vital role played by LASD nurses throughout Los Angeles County. Thank you!

picture of jail cells in a row
#CRIMETIMETUESDAY 400 100 SIB Staff

#CRIMETIMETUESDAY

#CRIMETIMETUESDAY

#CrimeTimeTuesday – Man Sentenced to Life for Fatal Shooting of Teenager in Bellflower Suspect Jesus Chavez, 37, was found guilty and sentenced on April 29, 2019, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing a teenager during a drive-by shooting on Halloween night four years ago.

17 year-old Sitani Sialeuvea was standing in front of a mobile home park on the 16100 block of Bellflower Boulevard, Bellflower on October, 31, 2015, at approximately 10:45 p.m., when the suspect, Jesus Chavez, drove by in a vehicle and shot at the victim with a shotgun. The victim was struck multiple times and transported to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Los Angeles County Homicide Bureau detectives investigated the case and were able to locate the suspect. He was arrested and booked at Lakewood Station for murder.

Deputy District Attorney Steven Schreiner tried the case and the jury found the suspect guilty of one count of first-degree murder with a special circumstance allegation of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle intentionally at another person outside the vehicle with the intent to inflict death.