Monthly Media Briefing

Sheriff Villanueva Hosts Monthly Media Briefing Event 1024 819 SIB Staff

Sheriff Villanueva Hosts Monthly Media Briefing Event

Sheriff Villanueva Hosts Monthly Media Briefing Event

Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s monthly media briefing took place on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, at the Hall of Justice.  He began by thanking representatives from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF), Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas (COFEM), and One Stop Immigration, for joining him at the conference.   

The Sheriff began the conference by reminding everyone that one of his campaign promises was to remove Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from County jails, and he has followed through.  Last year, ICE transfers were lowered by 52% and serious crime decreased by 7%.  “These numbers show that SB-54 and similar laws have not led to an increase in violent crime,” said the Sheriff.

Recently, the White House announced the deployment of SWAT-style agents to sanctuary cities like Los Angeles to enforce immigration laws. Sheriff Villanueva stated that such a move was unnecessary and it would only drive an already vulnerable population deeper into the shadows. He reiterated that, “As Sheriff of Los Angeles County, I’m responsible for everyone’s public safety, regardless of immigration status.”

Before closing the event, Sheriff Villanueva reminded everyone about the importance of participating in the 2020 Census and clarified that the census itself is not related to immigration enforcement.  Again, he thanked the advocacy groups for reaching and educating all members of the community so that they can be counted. Every person in the United States must be counted regardless of their status.    

Prepared by:

Alba Ibarra

Sheriff’s Information Bureau

211 West Temple Street,

Los Angeles, CA  90012

213-229-1850

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Alex Villanueva, Sheriff

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Undersheriff addresses Media
Undersheriff Hosts Media Briefing, 07/31/19 1024 422 SIB Staff

Undersheriff Hosts Media Briefing, 07/31/19

Undersheriff Tim Murakami Hosts Monthly Media Briefing

On Wednesday, July 31, 2019, Undersheriff Tim Murakami hosted the monthly press briefing. He announced the retirement of Assistant Sheriff Maria Gutierrez, who accepted an executive position at another law enforcement agency, which is unnamed at this time. During her 35 years in the law enforcement profession, Assistant Sheriff Gutierrez became recognized for her leadership performance and earned a stellar reputation. Her steadfastness led her to be the first female Hispanic in our agency’s 179-year history to hold the position of Assistant Sheriff. Undersheriff Murakami offered his congratulations and complimented her selection, “…it’s now evident that Sheriff Villanueva wasn’t the only one to recognize Sheriff Gutierrez’s boundless potential.”

The accolades continued as Undersheriff Murakami announced that the Emmy Award-winning Video Production Unit scored gold, once again. Their production of the public safety announcement “If They’re Not Secure, They’re Not Safe-Dresser Drawer” won them a second Emmy Award for Best Public Safety Announcement. Nominated were Sergeant Harry Drucker for Producer, and Video Production Specialist Vance Kotrla for Writer/Director. The piece is one of a four-part series which addresses the vital importance of safe gun storage; the decision to initiate such a production came after the tragic 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The PSA lasted only about a minute, but its impact was compelling and emotional.

The Video Production Unit, which falls under the umbrella of Training Bureau, is an in-house video production unit staffed by sworn and professional staff with experience in the television industry. They produce public service announcements, training films, and coordinate livestreaming and filming of ceremonial events, academy graduations and press conferences. Their first Emmy Award nomination came in 2016 for the “Surviving an Active Shooter” public service announcement video. The videos are available in English and Spanish, which is translated with the title “Pistolero Activo.”

The pieces were produced with no tax payer money other than salary of Video Production Unit personnel. Fundraising, and the donation of location sites and talents also help keep production costs low. As an example of this, the recently-released “Pistolero Activo,” was produced with the help of Spanish language newscasters, Romi DeFrias and Jovanny Huerta, who donated their time and talents to help with the voice overs and translation.

To view the English version, visit: https://lasd.org/active-shooter/
To view the Spanish version, visit: https://lasd.org/pistolero-activo/

Sheriff Villanueva speaking to media from podium.
Sheriff Villanueva, Media Briefing, 10/23/19 900 373 SIB Staff

Sheriff Villanueva, Media Briefing, 10/23/19

Sheriff Villanueva Holds Monthly Press Conference and Shares Statistics that Reflect Crime Reduction in Los Angeles County

On Wednesday, October 23, 2019, Sheriff Alex Villanueva opened his monthly press briefing with an acknowledgment of El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Ishmael, who was shot and killed in the line of duty earlier that morning while responding to a service call. Sheriff Villanueva sent thoughts and prayers to the fallen deputy’s family and his extended sheriff’s family. 
 
After apprising media of a deputy-involved shooting in Palmdale, which occurred just minutes before the press conference, Sheriff Villanueva continued with good news in the Department. He announced that in 2019, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) will have hired 370 more deputies than were hired in 2018. This increase is on track to seeing 1,070 deputies hired in 2019, with a plan for the same number in 2020. In doing this, the previous 15-year plan to be fully-staffed will be accomplished in just two years. 
 
Sheriff Villanueva introduced a group of future deputies who sat quietly in the audience. They will attend their first day at the training academy tomorrow, Thursday, October 24, 2019, and were a cross-section sample of current deputy sheriff trainees. Presently, sworn female personnel make up 18.2% of LASD; the goal is to increase that number to 21.5%. The national average is 12.6%, and LASD will be the first law enforcement agency in the nation to cross the 20% mark. Without lowering standards, the hiring process was streamlined and more resources made available to facilitate the hiring of deputies. The sheriff also emphasized that ours remains the most understaffed and underfunded law enforcement agency in the entire nation.
 
Sheriff Villanueva proudly announced that, without implementing new reforms and looking where implementation failed in the past, jail violence is down. In comparison to 2018:
There was an 11.5% decrease in the use of force incidents
There was a 20.5% decrease in assault on staff incidents
There was a 14.6% decrease on inmate vs. inmate assaults
 
Additionally, he provided an update of some other statistics related to the state of Los Angeles County and our agency:
Crime reduction in Los Angeles County is down by 6.79% overall, and homicides are down in just under 15%. 
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) transfers are down 53%. 
 
On a lighter note, Sheriff Villanueva reminded the audience that Halloween is around the corner and offered some tips for a safe trick-or-treating experience, including:
 
Use flashlights 
Walk in groups 
Wear bright colors 
Look before crossing the street 
Know your location 
Check the treats before eating them. Report any suspicious-looking treats to authorities

Downloadable Materials: Slides

Sheriff at new conference
Sheriff Villanueva Closes Out First Year in Office, 12/18/2019 900 450 SIB Staff

Sheriff Villanueva Closes Out First Year in Office, 12/18/2019

Sheriff Villanueva Closes Out First Year in Office

As 2019 draws to a close, Sheriff Alex Villanueva addressed some positive changes accompanied by statistics to close out his first year as top law enforcement officer of Los Angeles County. It was during a press conference on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, at the Hall of Justice that the Sheriff discussed the topics of violent crime, ICE transfers, jail violence, hiring, civic engagement, and homeless outreach services, which have all seen significant improvement in the last year.

In general, violent crimes are down, with homicides reduced by 15.15%; property crimes are also down, with burglaries reduced by 15.69%.

ICE transfers were cut by more than half, with a 53% reduction since 2018.

Jail violence saw a 1.02% uptick from 2018 in a daily average within the inmate population, however, the daily average within the mental health population fell 13.09%. Inmate-on-inmate assaults declined a whopping 33.34%, as did inmate assaults on staff by 27.56%. Uses of force in categories II and III also fell by 7.95%.

Citing an increased trust in law enforcement, a new approach to applicants and the hiring process, and raised standard of education background, the hiring of deputy sheriff applicants is at its highest level since 2015, with 20,122 applications received, as of Saturday, December 14, 2019. The number of deputy sheriff trainees hired is almost double the 2015 number, with a total of 1,062 -a staggering 65% increase from numbers seen in the preceding four years.

The Homeless Outreach Services Team saw 1,100 people connected to vital services at 392 locations found in both contract cities and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. No uses of force were part of any of these contacts. To keep the success moving forward, the team was expanded from a six-person team of one lieutenant, one sergeant and four deputies, to a team of 15 with ten additional deputy positions.

Sheriff Villanueva realized his goal to make personal connections and have direct contact with our neighbors and business partners who live and conduct commerce in the areas the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department serves. Over the course of 12 months, he visited each station within our patrol jurisdiction in 27 town hall meetings to address residents and hear their concerns.

Downloadable Material: Talking Points and Slides

Sheriff Villanueva at press conference
Sheriff Villanueva, Media Briefing Event, 01/22/20 1024 510 SIB Staff

Sheriff Villanueva, Media Briefing Event, 01/22/20

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. 

Below is the full press conference: