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Sheriff’s RESPONSE TO LA TIMES 680 380 SIB Staff

Sheriff’s RESPONSE TO LA TIMES

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

If you have concerns regarding the above, share your voice.  You may contact your Board of Supervisors at the below:
 County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors

Hilda L. Solis
Supervisor, First District
Phone: (213) 974-4111
FirstDistrict@bos.lacounty.gov

Mark Ridley-Thomas
Supervisor, Second District
Phone: (213) 974-2222
MarkRidley-Thomas@bos.lacounty.gov

Sheila Kuehl
Supervisor, Third District
Phone: (213) 974-3333
Sheila@bos.lacounty.gov

Janice Hahn
Supervisor, Fourth District
Phone: (213) 974-4444
FourthDistrict@bos.lacounty.gov

Kathryn Barger – CHAIR
Supervisor, Fifth District
Phone: (213) 974-5555
kathryn@bos.lacounty.gov

Not sure who your Supervisor is?  Click Link to Find Out: http://bos.lacounty.gov/About-Us/Board-of-Supervisors

Statement: Middle East Threat 1/03/20 680 380 SIB Staff

Statement: Middle East Threat 1/03/20

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.

LASD SAR Members Pay Respect to SBCSD SAR Tim Staples 720 960 SIB Staff

LASD SAR Members Pay Respect to SBCSD SAR Tim Staples

LASD SAR MEMBERS PAY RESPECT TO SBCSD SAR TIM STAPLES

Today, Saturday, December 28, 2019, a ceremony to celebrate the life of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue team member, Tim Staples was held in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

While Tim was in the Mount Baldy area searching for another missing hiker on Saturday, December 14, 2019, he became separated from his partner, and was tragically found dead a short time later. Tim was among approximately 125 other brave Search and Rescue volunteers from 11 different counties that were assisting with the search, and he ultimately gave his life trying to save someone he never knew.

In addition to being a volunteer Search and Rescue team member with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for the past 9 years, Tim was also a social science teacher at a local high school, where he touched the lives of many past and present students. He was recently married to his wife, Katie and was also a brother, a son, an uncle, a nephew and friend to so many others.

To show their support, several members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue team attended the ceremony to pay their respects.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sends our deepest condolences to the Staples family, the men and women of West Valley Search and Rescue, and to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Industry Station Bring Operation Christmas to La Puente Family 495 276 SIB Staff

Industry Station Bring Operation Christmas to La Puente Family

INDUSTRY STATION BRING OPERATION CHRISTMAS TO LA PUENTE FAMILY

On Tuesday. December 17, 2019, a Special Assignment Team from Industry Sheriff’s Station held an “Operation Christmas” contest,with the goal to adopt a family in need and to brighten their lives during this Holiday Season.

Industry Sheriff’s Station‘s, La Puente Special Assignment team was contacted by a woman named Cynthia who nominated her sister Valerie, and Valerie’s 10 year old, twin boys Jeremy & Jordan.

Jordan was diagnosed with a terminal illness. One of Jordan’s wishes was to have a winter wonderland Christmas this year but because of his illness, he has been restricted to his home.

With the help of generous vendors and the community, these deputies decided to bring a winter wonderland to Jordan. They were able to bring snow, a face painter, a holiday arch way, many decorations, gifts and most importantly Santa Claus. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder, Alex Verdugo joined Sheriff Alex Villanueva to be a part of Jordan’s special Winter Wonderland.

To watch the whole event unfold, please visit our YouTube page, or click the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OXAfJ6k_mQ

Sheriff and Archbishop Gomez Attend Annual Christmas Mass at MCJ 640 480 SIB Staff

Sheriff and Archbishop Gomez Attend Annual Christmas Mass at MCJ

SHERIFF AND ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ ATTEND ANNUAL CHRISTMAS MASS AT MCJ

Sheriff Villanueva Attended Annual Christmas Mass with Archbishop Jose H. Gomez at Men’s Central Jail on Wednesday, December 25, 2019.

Celebrating Christmas Mass at Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles is a tradition for those inmates incarcerated at Men’s Central Jail. Their rehabilitation presses onward as Sheriff Villanueva and Archbishop Gomez celebrate mass with approximately 150 inmates. This annual tradition allows inmates to participate in the holiday ceremony despite their incarceration.

After mass was celebrated, Sheriff Villanueva and Archbishop Gomez both took the time to shake hands with all of the inmates as they exited the church, spreading holiday joy. Many thanked the Sheriff as they passed him by.

Sheriff Villanueva was asked why this was important to him. He explained that we are not defining people by their bad decisions of the past, but by what they can do in the future, and what they can do from this point forward. He went on to express how welcoming it is to see everyone come together to celebrate mass and to see the emotional impact it has on the inmates.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department has a variety of increasing inmate services geared toward the county jail’s population. As an essential part of rehabilitation, the Jail Chaplaincy Program goal is to reduce recidivism, hoping to ensure a smoother transition of the approximately 16,000 inmates who will eventually rejoin our communities.

Through the Jail Chaplaincy Program, qualified and devoted individuals provide programs and services to inmates and their families, which enhance their lives during incarceration and support them upon reentry into the community. These services, provided for all denominations provide. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said, “The spiritual health of those in our care is just as important as their physical well being. This type of work is indicative of the culture of our Department, and is the epitome of the holiday spirit.”

East LA Family Receives Surprise from LASD 1024 768 SIB Staff

East LA Family Receives Surprise from LASD

EAST LA FAMILY RECEIVES SURPRISE FROM LASD

East Los Angeles Boy and Family Receives Christmas Surprise from #LASD East Los Angeles Station Personnel

On Thursday, November 28, 2019, at approximately 11:10 A.M., the Robles family tragically lost their four-month-old baby, Jacob Robles. Baby Robles is survived by his mother, father, grandparents, and his five-year-old brother Joseph Robles.

Affected by the devastating loss of baby Jacob and to help brighten and uplift the spirits of the Robles family during this difficult Christmas season, East Los Angeles Station personnel came together to help bring a little joy and happiness into their life.

East Los Angeles Station personnel collected numerous toys for Joseph and a surprise gift to the entire Robles family. Along with the toys, numerous gift cards were presented to the entire family.The toys, and gift cards were generously collected and donated by sworn and professional staff from the East Los Angeles Station.

Surprised to have received various toys, Joseph could not contain his excitement and welcomed East Los Angeles Station personnel with, literally, open arms. As Joseph opened his gifts, he recalled and shared memorable times with Jacob.The Robles family was extremely grateful for the generous donations.The boys’ mother, Guadalupe Castillo, enthusiastically stated, “Thank you everyone for your help!”

In the spirit of this Holiday Season, and because life as we know it could forever change an in instant, please take the time to appreciate those filling your cup of life.Take the time to express compassion, whether it is by giving them some words of encouragement, spending quality time with them, or giving back to those in your community.

Sheriff Gives Check to Salvation Army – Bell Shelter Veterans 1024 575 SIB Staff

Sheriff Gives Check to Salvation Army – Bell Shelter Veterans

SHERIFF GIVES CHECK TO SALVATION ARMY – BELL SHELTER VETERANS

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Sheriff Alex Villanueva presented the Salvation Army – Bell Shelter with a $17,500 check on Monday, December 23, 2019 from proceeds generated from the sale of LASD’s first ever Veterans Patch.

“With the month of November coming up, we came up with the idea of putting together a veterans patch,” said Sheriff Villanueva. “It sold out like crazy. In fact, three times over. And then for the entire month of November we authorized our personnel to wear the veterans patch. It’s important and extremely significant because it embraces so many people and is part of who we are as Los Angeles County – one big community.”

United States Marine Corps Veteran and LASD Sergeant, William Kitchin, who overseas the department’s Homeless Outreach Services added, “The sheriff’s department proactively engages veteran homelessness in the community to help build relationships to try to connect them with service providers. LASD works with multiple partners who coordinate housing and services, as well as professionals from the mental health sector, to help address and identify substance abuse, public health and safety concerns. And with that, we have been able to build relationships to help transition people out of homelessness.”

In honor of these veterans, 100 percent of the proceeds went to support the largest homeless shelter in the entire nation and, “We definitely need to provide them all the support we can give, particularly during the holidays,” said Sheriff Villanueva.

Vet patches available now at lasdvetpatch.com

100% of proceeds donated to The Salvation Army Bell Shelter, which provides transitional housing for Veterans.

Help us make a difference in the lives of our homeless Veterans.

If you are an adult experiencing homelessness or at-risk of becoming homeless, please call (800) 548-6047 or click on the link https://www.lahsa.org/documents…

To watch the whole event, please visit our YouTube page, or click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwJa_kXm674

LASD Teams Up With Viking Charities 1024 732 SIB Staff

LASD Teams Up With Viking Charities

LASD TEAMS UP WITH VIKING CHARITIES

On Sunday December 22, 2019, LASD personnel, and other law enforcement agencies teamed up with Viking Charities, in Santa Monica. Assembled in the Barker Hanger, volunteers came from near and far to help pack boxes of food for needy families in our communities.

For over 37 years, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has collaborated with Viking Charities to package and distribute these meals across Los Angeles County. Each basket contains a turkey and all the fixings for a holiday dinner. This event gives us an opportunity to give back to families in our communities.

Viking Charities is a charity for disadvantaged children in Los Angeles County. Throughout the year, the Vikings Charities Organization and Stations within the Sheriff’s Department identify families that are suffering hardships and in need during the holidays.

For more information about Viking Charities visit: www.losangelesvikingcharities.org

Sheriff Villanueva Visits Communities For Holidays 1024 768 SIB Staff

Sheriff Villanueva Visits Communities For Holidays

SHERIFF VILLANUEVA VISITS COMMUNITIES FOR HOLIDAYS

#LASD Our Sheriff had a very busy day! From Willowbrook to South Los Angeles, he had been busy sending out gifts, greetings and best wishes to the people who live in our community.

He also held a town hall meeting inside a jail facility, and surprised the visitors with toys for their children. We are not here to judge but to help. Along with all the #LASD members, we wish you a very merry Christmas!

LASD Passed The Holiday Spirit to Communities 1024 683 SIB Staff

LASD Passed The Holiday Spirit to Communities

LASD Passed The Holiday Spirit to Our Communities

With the joyous season of giving in mind, your local LASD Patrol stations are passing along their Holiday spirit all across Los Angeles County!

For example, the San Dimas and Century Sheriff’s Station received a generous donation of Christmas trees and are paying it forward by giving them to families who are in need of extra blessings.

Meanwhile, Cerritos Sheriff’s Station along with East LA Sheriff’s Station participated in Toy Drives and helped Santa Claus get around in an LASD Helicopter!