Public Service Recognition Week

Public Service Recognition Week

Public Service Recognition Week 1024 819 SIB Staff

Sheriff Alex Villanueva and other Department Members Highlight Public Service Recognition Week

On Wednesday, May 4th, 2022, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a press conference to thank the members of the Sheriff’s Department for the remarkable work they do for the community. He also highlighted various accomplishments from 10 different Sheriff Stations and Bureaus of the department.  

Every year since 1985, during the first week of May, time is set aside to celebrate Public Service Recognition Week. It is a time when the men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are recognized for their resilience and dedication as public servants. 

Lieutenant Annadenise Briz from the Mental Health Evaluation Team (MET) gave a brief summary of the team of highly trained deputy Sheriffs that respond to calls that involve mental health crisis. The team was formed in 1993 with five teams and they’re now t 34 teams countywide. The team not only provides services to the public, but they also train other first responders at a local and national level. Britz also reminded the public about the Special Alert, a form that family members or caregivers can fill out alerting the Sheriff’s Department about a family member or loved one with special needs. By filling out the form, deputies will know how to better serve individuals when they experience a mental crisis.   

Lieutenant Geoffrey Deedrick from the Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) gave a brief summary of HOST. Since its inception, the team has had interaction with at least 70,000 people experiencing homelessness and to this date, has never used force or made an arrest during the interactions. The team not only brings safety and security to a homeless encampment, but in the end, the community is given back a clean and safe area.      

Sergeant Henry Ramirez from the Organized Crime Task Force discussed an investigation that started on April 7 in the Los Angeles County jails. A total of three inmates died from a fentanyl overdose, five other inmates overdosed but survived, five inmates were part of taking or selling the narcotics, and one primary suspect was identified.       

Lieutenant Anthony Easter from the Narcotics Bureau talked about 19 search warrants that took place on April 19 and 20, 2022, in the unincorporated area of East Los Angeles. The search warrants were done in marijuana dispensaries operating illegally. A total of 72 individuals were arrested, 1,200 lbs. of cannabis edibles were recovered, 761 lbs. of marijuana, a large amount of methamphetamine, U.S. currency, and firearms were recovered including an assault rifle and ghost guns. Easter thanked his team for its commitment to the job and he also thanked Sheriff Villanueva for his support.  

Deputy Adnan Ahmed from the Carson Station shared a touching story about a call for service involving an elderly resident. During the encounter, Deputy Ahmed found out the person was blind, had no food in her fridge and had no means of transportation. He talked to neighbors and they confirmed the lady lived alone. Carson station contacted the local Walmart and they donated groceries that were delivered in person. The lady asked the deputies: “Who is going to pay for this?” Deputies told her it was free and she was extremely thankful for their actions. 

Deputy Moises Montes from the East Los Angeles Station shared another heart-warming story about an incident that happened in early April. While patrolling in the city of Cudahy, he observed a homeless individual sleeping on the sidewalk. The individual stated that he had been evicted two weeks before and had been sleeping on the streets. Deputy Montes made several phone calls and was able to get him housing at the Salvation Army Shelter in the City of Bell. The individual is very happy, but he wants to go back to South Korea and enjoy the rest of his life there. 

Captain James Powers from the Lomita Station shared an incident of effective communication and working relations with other law enforcement agencies that led to the arrest of individuals driving a stolen vehicle. The suspects had previously been involved in an assault with a deadly weapon shooting in the LAPD’s jurisdiction.   

On April 27, Deputy Olmos from the Palmdale Station stopped a vehicle because the license plate belonged to another vehicle. During the investigation, three stolen catalytic converters were discovered, battery-powered “Sawzall’s”, multiple blades, a floor jack, and other tools used to cut catalytic converters from vehicles. The occupants of the vehicle were arrested on various felony charges and their vehicle was impounded.

Deputy Arthur Valenzuela from the Temple Station and other deputies from the Youth Activity League participated in cleanup activity at Pamela Park in the city of Duarte to celebrate Earth Day. The goal of these activities is to provide the role models and mentoring for young adults, changing lives in many cases and improving public safety at the same time. 

Assistant Director Mike Leum from the Reserve Forces Detail, spoke about the program he oversees and praised the civilian volunteers and reserves that selflessly donate their time in the department. There are currently 484 reserve deputies, and their work equates to an approximate savings of $7 million dollars to the Los Angeles County. The 2,500 civilian volunteers volunteered 121,000 hours at a value of $3.4 million dollars to the county. Last year, the Search and Rescue Team conducted 715 missions. Leum also shared his own recent experience in Ukraine where he helped rescue special needs orphans and brought them to their new families in the United States. The mission was done as a private citizen, but he acknowledged that his will and skills are the result of more than 30 years of doing search and rescue in the department.

Lastly, Sheriff Villanueva shared his experience at the California Peace Officers Enrollment Ceremony where he provided support for the family of Deputy Thomas Albanese. Deputy Albanese was killed in 2021 during a collision in a Lakewood intersection while attempting to make a traffic stop. The two-day event started with a candlelight vigil where new additions to the memorial were unveiled, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Sheriff Villanueva thanked again all of the members of the department who perform acts of great bravery and heroism, above and beyond the call of duty, to help and serve others while placing their own lives at risk.

PRess Conference Video

PRess confence material

Press Conference Slides – PDF