Under my leadership, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is more transparent than ever before. With greater transparency comes greater accountability. One area this has been demonstrated is our cooperation with the Citizen Oversight Commission (COC) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG).
In anticipation of the colossal amount of requests for records prior to the bills enactment on January 1, 2019, we requested funding from the Board of Supervisors for additional personnel and computer software to address the added workload created by the SB 1421 mandate. To date, our requests have been ignored.
In November 2019, I reorganized the Audit and Accountability Bureau (AAB), on a temporary basis, in order to dedicate resources to the SB 1421 project. We also implemented a tracking system specifically for COC and OIG requests, to ensure a timely response.
In the calendar year of 2019, the Department responded to 43 known requests from the COC and OIG. From January 1, 2020 to May 1, 2020, the Department has responded to 59 of the 62 requests made by the COC and OIG.
Since November 2019, AAB has received a total of 2,848 requests for review. As of June 11, 2020, AAB has responded to 75% of the requests.
The true goals and values of government can be found in how the budget is allocated. If something is deemed important, the Board of Supervisors has the responsibility and obligation to fully fund it. Due to our limited staffing and our lack of SB 1421 specified funding, the fulfillment of SB 1421 compliance has been difficult. We will continue to do the best we can with what we have in place.
Please visit LASD.org to explore my transparency promise.
sheriff villanueva denounces budget cuts, outlines services to be affectedhttps://lasd.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/DSC_6302-1024x899.jpg1024899SIB StaffSIB Staffhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/1574c7e837ba80adcc55787abdb91f6e?s=96&d=mm&r=g
During a press conference held Monday morning, June 29, 2020, at the Hall of Justice, Sheriff Alex Villanueva discussed a large budget cut proposed by Los Angeles County CEO Sachi Hamai for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) 2020-2021 fiscal year, which was voted on and approved later that day by the Board of Supervisors. On the cusp of reopening after the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an all-around tightening of belts because of tax revenue losses incurred from the closure of businesses. All 34 Los Angeles County government departments will have their budgets reduced, however, it is LASD which will take the largest cut.
With around 18,000 employees, LASD staffs 15% of the entire county family. Sheriff Villanueva pointed out the unbalanced distribution of cuts to be imposed on our agency: Of the 600 proposed county layoffs, more than half of them will be from the Sheriff’s Department, and of the 3,200 vacant positions to be eliminated county-wide, 1,525 will be from the Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff, however, cited there are other, steadier sources of money for government than sales tax, such as property tax, which could be directed toward law enforcement and the other 33 county departments, but for a variety of reasons, is not. “The Board has the ability to fund all of the county government operations, and they need to prioritize public safety,” said Sheriff Villanueva.
With the Board of Supervisors voting in favor of the defunding proposal and following CEO Hamai’s recommendations, four important investigative bureaus within LASD will be eliminated: Special Victims Bureau, which investigates crimes against some of the most vulnerable of our population, children and victims of sexual assault, who are victims of atrocities like physical abuse, sexual abuse and rape; Operation Safe Streets, which investigates gang-related crimes, collects gang intelligence and maintains current information on local street gangs; Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau, which investigates crimes committed online and various forms of fraud, including identity theft, real estate fraud and wire fraud; and Major Crimes Bureau, which specializes in investigating kidnapping for ransom, illegal medical practices, extortion, solicitation for murder, series and pattern robberies, etc. Scrapping these specialized bureaus will cause investigations to be decentralized and conducted at a station-level by detectives whose caseloads are already heavily burdened.
“It’s unconscionable,” said Sheriff Villanueva. “These are the major detective units of the entire department. They serve the entire county of Los Angeles. Those four units…are the cream of the crop of investigative units throughout the entire nation, and as the largest county in the nation, I cannot see how we move forward without these four units,” he said.
At the discretion of the CEO and Board of Supervisors, the four detective bureaus will be eliminated, as well as the Mental Evaluation Team, comprised of soft-clothed deputies and mental health clinicians, who respond in teams of two to calls in the field, to conduct mental health evaluations. They also provide follow up and support services, respond to incidents such as suicides, school shootings, incidents with barricaded persons, and locate persons with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and autism who wandered away.
Custody Operations will also be impacted with $50 million already dedicated to fulfill unfunded mandates. The Department is legally obligated to provide a certain level of programming to our inmate population, and the positions to be eliminated because of budget issues will cause incompliance with federal consent decrees.
One might argue that if a position is vacant, it wasn’t needed anyway, and won’t be missed if eliminated. On the contrary, vacant positions across our agency are compulsory and, because of already-existing staff shortages, are filled by paying them as overtime spots, which only compounds budget issues. Cutting the 2020-2021 budget by $555 million affects the services we provide and takes away vital law enforcement services from everyone.
Detectives seek public’s help to locate Nayeli rodriguez-espainhttps://lasd.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/DSC_6260-Copy-Copy-1024x1013.jpg10241013SIB StaffSIB Staffhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/1574c7e837ba80adcc55787abdb91f6e?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Detectives seek public’s help to locate Nayeli rodriguez-espain
Homicide Bureau detectives and family members are seeking assistance in locating Nayeli Rodriguez, a 19-year-old missing woman. The plea for information about her current location was made during a press conference held Wednesday, June 24, 2020, at the Homicide Bureau offices in Monterey Park.
Nayeli Rodriguez, also known as Nayeli Rodriguez-Espain, was last seen at 8:30 A.M. on Thursday, May 21, 2020, in the 1100 block of East Florence Avenue, unincorporated Los Angeles County. At that time, she wore a blue, short-sleeved t-shirt, black leggings, black tennis shoes, and had a small backpack with green decorations on it.
Before her disappearance, Nayeli anticipated returning to community college in the upcoming semester. She worked to help support her family by selling various items in shopping center parking lots throughout the South Los Angeles area. Since her disappearance, there has been no activity on her cellphone or social media platforms. Detectives searched far and wide to locate Nayeli and determined that neither her relatives who reside locally, nor relatives in México, have heard from her.
Some of Nayeli’s favorite activities are going to the beach and spending time with friends and family. Until May 21, Nayeli was in frequent communication with others close to her and was interactive on social media platforms, making her sudden silence unusual; Nayeli never went missing before and only left home for hours at a time, never days.
“I’m desperate more than ever,” pleaded Nayeli’s mother, Maria Espain, in Spanish during the conference. “I don’t know the truth. Help me, please, to find her, or something. Please.” “She was a good girl,” said Mrs. Espain. “I’m asking the public if they have any tips or something to, please, tell us something. I want my daughter back.”
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Missing Persons Unit at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google Play or the Apple App Store, or by using the website.
Sheriff Villanueva Discusses Underfunding and Understaffing, Both Dangerous for L.A. County Residents
With overseeing the safety and security needs of more than ten million residents in Los Angeles County –the largest populated county in the nation- Sheriff Alex Villanueva made a startling comparison with the staffing at other policing agencies.
It was during his weekly virtual press conference on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, broadcast from the Hall of Justice that Sheriff Villanueva outlined why staffing levels matter and how being provided an inadequate budget affects it.
AgencyPolice Officers per 1,000 Residents
Washington D.C. Police Department 6
New York Police Department 4
Chicago Police Department 4
Los Angeles Police Department 2
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department 1 (0.9 actual)
According to the United States Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Justice Information System Division, the average rate of sworn officers is 2.4 per 1,000 inhabitants in the nation, which means LASD is running at almost 63% behind the national average. With the largest population and in times of crisis, this could prove to be a risky and dangerous standard. Proper funding equals proper staffing, both necessary for keeping peace and order during challenging times.
The Sheriff reiterated his invitation to members of the Board of Supervisors, to meet with him and discuss the LASD budget, concerning the entire Los Angeles County budget, to identify priorities and areas of savings. “How does public safety rate in the priorities of each member of the Board of Supervisors and the CEO’s office?” posed Sheriff Villanueva. “We’re going to work with the Board of Supervisors. We’re going to work with the CEO to make sure that we’re as effective and efficient as possible. However, we cannot perform miracles,” he said.
In response to the underfunding proposal and drastic measures necessary to accommodate it, Sheriff Villanueva announced a new attempt to reorganize the entire agency around a new budget, shrunk by 10% than the actual cost of running it. Despite impending alterations, the Sheriff has extended invitations to meet with the Supervisors and CEO to work together on behalf of the Los Angeles County Community.
The impact of COVID-19 on LASD operations, in direct comparison with the same 2019 time frame, shows a 6.57% drop in violent crimes, with a12.5% hike in criminal homicide and a 30.32% plunge in rape reporting. Property crimes had a 6.13% drop, comprised of -6.69% in burglary, -15-93% in larceny-theft, -4.4% in arson, and 25.05% increase in grand theft auto.
The numbers of 73 total COVID-19-related arrests since Sunday, March 29, 2020, remained unchanged, as did the four total COVID-19-related arrests. Over the 2020 Memorial Day weekend, there were zero citations and zero arrests. The Sheriff attested not only to the credit of law enforcement personnel but also to members of our community, adhering to physical distancing protocols and compliance with health orders.
There are 380 sworn and 135 civilian staff in quarantine related to COVID-19, totaling 515 personnel. Since its inception, 178 sworn and 69 civilian staff tested positive for the virus. Of all those affected by COVID-19, there were 867 sworn and 414 civilian staff who returned to work.
Inmate COVID-19 statistics revealed a downward trend of 5,163 in current quarantine, 242 isolated, and 182 who tested positive for the virus.
Sheriff Villanueva Announces Statistics for Crime Percentage Drops, and for Personnel and Inmates Affected by COVID-19
During one of his weekly press conferences, broadcast Monday, May 4, 2020, from the Sherman Block Building, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced a 10% total drop in violent crimes, as compared to 2019, with -4% seen in criminal homicides and -33% in rape reporting. Property crimes also fell by 8%. The only noticeable difference, he said, is in grand theft of vehicles, likely increased because of more people staying home and fewer places to park. He recommended neighborhood awareness programs, and calling your local law enforcement agency for area checks and increased visibility.
Since Sunday, March 29, 2020, there were three COVID-19-related citations and 55 arrests.
Personnel quarantined because of COVID-19 totaled 1,185, with 818 of them sworn and 367 civilian. There were 84 sworn and 32 civilian staff who tested positive for the disease. Almost 1,000 employees returned to work, with 689 of them sworn and 310 of them civilian.
Inmates quarantined numbered 3,287, with 183 isolated since the pandemic began, 123 who tested positive, and 55 fully-recovered.
Sheriff Villanueva Announces LASD Budget Underfunded by $400 Million
During one of his weekly press conferences, broadcast Monday, May 4, 2020, from the Sherman Block Building, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced the Board of Supervisors’ release of a portion of frozen service and supply funds, and discussed the impact their recommended 2020-2021 budget would have on our agency and the services we provide. The $3.9 billion it costs to provide law enforcement services, subtracted from the recommended budget of $3.5 billion, would leave a staggering $400 million gap.
The Sheriff outlined what underfunding would mean for the Department and its financial impact:
· Reduction of academy classes from 12 to eight, to offer an approximate $21.9 million savings per year;
· Patrol Division cuts. With 191 positions already going unfunded, 137 of them would be integrated into funded line positions in two phases; first with 35, second with 102, to provide a yearly saving of around $22.8 million;
· Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) cuts. Instead of the intended increase of team members to 40 positions, the currently unfunded ten positions would be slashed to six bodies, which are funded through AB-109. This offers a yearly cost savings of $1.4 million;
· Altadena Sheriff’s Station would be closed, garnering an annual $6.3 million savings;
· Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station would be closed, garnering an annual $5.9 million savings;
· Elimination of other unfunded full-time patrol positions, including: o Youth Activities League (YAL) o School resource deputy o Vital Intervention and Directional Alternatives (VIDA) o Nuisance abatement o Community Relations Team o Search and rescue coordinator
· Parks Bureau would be eliminated. Slashing law enforcement services presently dedicated to providing a safe and drug free environment at all Los Angeles County parks, golf courses and special venues will offer a $32.5 million savings. The areas would become the responsibility of the patrol station in which they lie;
· Community Partnership Bureau (COPS) would be eliminated. COPS teams provide supplemental services to residences in our unincorporated areas, specifically addressing the unique and individual needs of each area by identifying crime trends, and quality of life and crime trends. Cutting this bureau would offer a $30 million savings;
· Curtailment of Detective Division positions. Personnel who investigate some of the most heinous crimes, identify dangerous trends, and create new and updated ways of protection against them would be reassigned to fill a funded vacancy elsewhere in our Department. The savings are clearly substantial: o Special Victims Bureau, $23.5 million § Human trafficking § Child abuse § Sexual assaults o Operation Safe Streets (Gang Investigations Bureau), $38.8 million o Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau, $13.4 million o Major Crimes Bureau, $22.1 million
While some of these positions are not directly patrol-related, they are part of programs proven to make the communities we serve safer, improve quality of life county-wide, help us sustain life, keep us in direct contact with the public, and help us meet their needs. With a shortage of monies, however, personnel currently assigned to the aforementioned positions will be reassigned, to fill line patrol vacancies and meet basic staffing needs.
With an already-existing vacancy of 712 sworn positions, a budget reduction would reduce academy classes and shrink our agency by an average of 160 deputies per year. “These are not negotiable positions,” said the Sheriff. “These are the line jobs on the Department. These are your deputies working patrol, the deputies working in custody, the detectives out there in the field doing investigations. These are not positions we can just wish away because they’re inconvenient.”
Deficits exist because of large mandatory costs, such as trial court security ($77 million), worker’s compensation ($72.3 million), retirement payouts ($22.7 million), federal lawsuit compliance ($34.9 million), SB-1421 compliance ($3.8 million), and custody mandates ($49.6 million), as well as additional costs for essentials such as helicopter fleet maintenance ($23 million) and mobile radio replacement ($27.4 million).
Sheriff Villanueva covered a variety of topics, with a heavy emphasis on the effects of what a reduced budget will bring. We can tighten our belt and creatively shuffle personnel to alleviate the sting of a fiscal deficit, but ultimately, it is the public who would be impacted by a compromised allowance. And there is no benefit in that.
Reassures Residents; “Let’s Be Prepared, Not Scared”
press conference on Monday, March 16, 2020, at the Hall of Justice, Sheriff
Alex Villanueva stated his reassurance that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s
Department is working hard to ensure law enforcement services in the areas we
serve remain uninterrupted by the coronavirus.
County Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) remains open at a Level I status, fully-staffed
with knowledgeable experts from other L.A. County departments. Our Department continues to collaborate with
local agencies, monitor world events and provide the most up-to-date
information to the public.
innovative and creative measures, Sheriff Villanueva was adamant about keeping
staff levels up and the inmate population count down. Staff vacations were cancelled through the
end of April to ensure more personnel are on-hand, and those working non-essential
assignments can be temporarily moved to custody or patrol assignments to offset
and augment manpower shortages. This
decision is particularly helpful for coverage, as a small number of personnel
were self-quarantined over the weekend.
Sheriff raised the aggregate bail amount for booking inmates raised from $25,000
to $50,000, which allows more people to receive citations, rather than get
booked into custody. This reduces the
number of people entering our jail facilities, therefore lowering chances of
the virus being introduced into that environment. Out of the 16,459 inmates in today’s morning
count, there were zero confirmed cases of coronavirus. Nine inmates are in isolation housing, 21
inmates are in quarantine at Men’s Central Jail, and five inmates are in
quarantine at Twin Towers Correctional Facility.
protective equipment was issued to field personnel. Inventory of these supplies was bulked-up,
with a likely request to follow for the release of Service and Supply funds, to
address the ongoing need for more items, such as masks, gloves, goggles, and
sanitizer. Patrol station and custody
facility unit commanders were directed to sanitize their stations and jails as
a preventative measure. Personnel are
reminded to be cognizant of hand-washing, don personal protective equipment,
covering sneezes, not touching their faces, and practice social distancing
all county buildings being ordered to close their doors to the public, Sheriff
Villanueva directed all patrol stations to keep their lobbies open. He encouraged the use of online reporting for
non-emergent, qualifying incidents, as outlined here: http://shq.lasdnews.net/shq/SORTS/sorts_intro.aspx
or calling your local patrol station. He
also asked that those who must visit a patrol station for services, such as
regularly-scheduled child custody exchanges or compliance check-ins, to notify
deputies if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms, fever or respiratory
illness so they can take precautionary measures.
events occur, information regarding public safety and other services will be
provided by our agency and updated on several platforms. Please monitor our social media sites,
@LASDHQ on Twitter, @LosAngelesCountySheriffDepartment on Facebook, and our https://lasd.org/
website for up-to-date information.
Stay connected, remain
composed and we will get through this together.
Sheriff Villanueva and
the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force Announce Arrests and
Rescues by California Law Enforcement
Reclaim and Rebuild
conjunction with Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Sheriff Alex Villanueva
announced details and results from the sixth annual Operation Reclaim and
Rebuild enforcement operation, conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Human
Trafficking Task Force and 70 participating federal, state and local law
enforcement agencies, and task forces from across California. The weeklong, statewide effort aimed at
combatting human trafficking took place between Sunday, January 26, and
Saturday, February 1, 2020, and was conducted in various mediums and met with
press conference was held Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at the iconic Hall of
Justice in downtown Los Angeles. Sheriff
Alex Villanueva was joined by executives and representatives from the Los
Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, California Department of Corrections
and Rehabilitation, California Highway Patrol, California Department of
Justice, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) , San Bernardino
County Sheriff’s Department, Contra Costa County Human Trafficking Task Force,
Homeland Security Investigations, Journey Out, Los Angeles County Department of
Children and Family Services, Los Angeles County Probation Department, Los
Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles
School Police Department, Anaheim Police Department, Concord Police Department,
San Gabriel Police Department, Saving Innocence, and Zoe International.
Reclaim and Rebuild focused on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human
trafficking, providing victims with much-needed services, identifying and
arresting their captors, seeking successful prosecutions, and disrupting the
demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their customers. Police agencies and other trafficking task
forces throughout our state joined in the enforcement operation to send the
clear message that California law enforcement shares a unified mandate: Human trafficking must not be tolerated in
preparation for the event, an operational planning meeting took place in Los
Angeles, with over 200 federal, state and municipal law enforcement detectives
from all over California in attendance.
Investigators focused enforcement operations wherever the trafficking of
human beings took place, from confronting the reality of sidewalk prostitution
by conducting demand operations, to challenging the virtual reality of the
cyber world where traffickers believe they can operate anonymously using the
internet furnishes a vast variety of opportunities for traffickers, but with
the experience of specially-trained cyber detectives who posed as vulnerable
teenagers and interacted with suspects on social media, traffickers and
customers who were anxious to exploit found their plans foiled.
encountered during enforcement efforts were cared for by personnel from various
Department of Children and Family Services Agencies and victim service
providers in each county. In Los Angeles
County, CAST, Saving Innocence, Zoe International, and Journey Out coordinated
the emergency services response for victim care and collaborated with similar,
non-governmental victim service organizations throughout the state.
Reclaim and Rebuild was widely successful in its endeavor with 76 adult and 11
minor victims being recovered; 266 males arrested for the charge of
Solicitation; and 27 suspected traffickers and exploiters were arrested. In total, 518 arrests were made.
Sheriff Villanueva relayed the mission, efforts
and results of Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, and gave a firm direction to the victims: “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
and our partners stand with each victim of this heinous crime. You are the focus of this endeavor. We are here for you. We are here to help you reclaim your freedom
from the binds of sex trafficking, and to provide you the support and tools to
“To the traffickers and
solicitors: We will not tolerate the
enslavement and trafficking of others in any form. We will seek you out and prosecute you to the
fullest extent of the law.
Johns: Purchasing commercial sex is
illegal and buying sex adds to the exploitation of those involved,” he said
Michael Hannemann, who oversaw the coordinated effort, defined the
undertaking. “Operation Reclaim and
Rebuild is a state-wide operation which displays the mutual commitment of
California law enforcement, social service agencies, and victim service
providers in the fight to end sex trafficking,” he said. “The L.A. Regional Human Trafficking Task
Force is an example of how individual entities can be far more effective, when
they join together in a shared mission.
Today, 11 children have been rescued from their exploiters and 76 women
have been connected with the services necessary to rebuild their lives, free
task force, we are continuing to find cutting-edge approaches to serving
survivors that prioritize their rights, secure their safety, and provide access
to services – while holding traffickers accountable,” said CAST CEO and
Executive Director Kay Buck. “I want to
thank all of the amazing community leaders that are a part of the task force
for being stewards of our shared community values and our evolving national
Chief Kris Pitcher, Los Angeles Police Department, shared four cases which came
as a result of Human Trafficking Taskforce operations and daily operations. He attributed them to the collaborative work
between organizations and non-governmental resource providers which come
alongside to lift victims, “…out of their issues, provide them life-saving skills,
life-building skills, and ultimately…prosecute those vicious criminals who prey
“Human trafficking amounts to nothing less than modern day slavery
and has no place in our society,” said
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a statement.“It’s
up to us to take on criminals who profit from forced labor and sexual
exploitation of vulnerable Californians. Operation Reclaim and Rebuild is a
testament to what can be accomplished to support survivors and combat
trafficking in our state.”
Sheriff Villanueva Hosts First Media Briefing Event of 2020
Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s monthly media briefing on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, took place at the Hall of Justice. It included lots of good news, as well as a glimpse at happier times in the life of a partner recently lost.
The topic of promotions kicked-off the event, in which the Sheriff announced that, for the first time in our agency’s 170-year history, the majority of promotions were received by females and minorities. Since the beginning of his tenure, 276 sworn personnel were promoted to the rank of sergeant or higher; 41% of them were Latino, 36% were Caucasian, 18% were female, 15% were Black, and 4.5% were Asian.
A recent mumps outbreak at Men’s Central Jail was efficiently handled and quickly combatted by medical personnel from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, who manage the health of our jail population. In recognition of their efforts, Commander Jason Wolak, who oversees Custody Services Division-General Population, outlined the efforts made by the medical professionals and line staff. Working together, they were able educate and inform the inmate population, and thus gain their cooperation, which resulted in 3,400 men being willingly vaccinated, as well as 1,100 staff. In gratitude and recognition of their collaboration and contribution to successfully halt the outbreak, Sheriff Villanueva presented formal, written documents of recognition, called scrolls, to 11 medical professionals present at the event.
Sheriff Villanueva addressed the successes of the Homeless Outreach Services Team, known as HOST, which is participating in current census efforts to include a number count of those experiencing homelessness. Sergeant Bill Kitchin, one of the team’s supervisors, explained the mission of HOST is to “positively impact the homeless crisis in the county, while increasing public safety and preserving the rights and dignity of persons experiencing homelessness.” Through their encounters with thousands of our homeless neighbors, they earned the reputation of being compassionate, accountable, innovative, and bold. Their unique approach to combat homelessness is a very nontraditional role for law enforcement. Because of it, successful relationships are formed; this allows them to connect those in need with people and services, and preserve public safety.
The media event closed somberly with the remembrance of Deputy Amber Leist. Her loss occurred in the act of service for a stranger in need. After coming to the aid of an elderly pedestrian who fell while crossing a Los Angeles City street, Amber was struck by a vehicle and fatally wounded. She died Sunday morning, January 12, 2020.