Posts Tagged :

2019

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’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 want to share your voice with the BOS regarding the steps that the Sheriff has taken to increase accountability, you can contact them at:
http://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/lac/1031546_BoardContactInformation.pdf

Lakewood Station Honors Deputy David Powell 640 480 SIB Staff

Lakewood Station Honors Deputy David Powell

LAKEWOOD STATION HONORS DEPUTY DAVID POWELL

Deputies at Lakewood Station honor fallen hero Deputy David A. Powell by running in his honor on Thursday, December 5, 2019.

On November 30, 2002, Deputy David A. Powell paid the ultimate sacrifice. Deputy Powell and his partner responded to a call of “shots fired” near the area of 166th Street and Elaine Avenue in the city of Artesia. A short time later, he was alerted to the presence of the suspect in a nearby residence. Informed that the suspect had taken a woman hostage, Deputy Powell and his partner attempted to force entry through the front door when four shots were fired through the house. Deputy Powell suffered a fatal gunshot wound. His partner returned fire with a shotgun and mortally wounded the suspect.

LASD Explorers Celebrated Family Night 1024 677 SIB Staff

LASD Explorers Celebrated Family Night

LASD EXPLORERS CELEBRATED FAMILY NIGHT

#LASD Explorer Class 103 celebrated FAMILY NIGHT with their family and friends. Congratulations to each and everyone of them.

The Explorers had to endure many weeks of grueling physical agility obstacles and many tests to get to where they are at today.

Also many thanks to Lt. Roberto Medrano, Sgt. Anthony Romo, Deputy Michael Sanchez and all the other participating agencies and staff for true dedication to the Explorer Program.

Meet LASD Metrolink Bureau’s Newest K-9! 698 960 SIB Staff

Meet LASD Metrolink Bureau’s Newest K-9!

MEET LASD METROLINK BUREAU’S NEWEST K-9!

Please welcome Metrolink’s new K-9 Handler Deputy Anthony Velasco and his partner, Tina!

LASD/Metrolink Bureau is honored to have Deputy Velasco and Tina as part of our team. The Metrolink Bureau, currently deploys three K-9’s throughout approx 500 miles of train track.

Deputy Velasco and his partner are trained in explosives detection. The explosives detection K-9 teams combine excellent mobility and maneuverability with reliable detection through their natural born senses and experience. Their use today has evolved to include searching areas in response to bomb threats in aviation and mass transit systems. In addition, K-9 teams serve as general deterrents to any would-be terrorists and/or criminals.

Interesting Facts about K-9 Handlers: All Metrolink Bureau canine teams endure intense training at the TSA Explosives Detection Canine Handler Course at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

From there, each handler and K-9’s have to be annually certified through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) National Explosive Detection Canine Training program (NEDCTP).

#LASD

Sheriff Villanueva Holds Town Hall Meeting in Compton 1024 818 SIB Staff

Sheriff Villanueva Holds Town Hall Meeting in Compton

SHERIFF VILLANUEVA HOLDS TOWN HALL MEETING IN COMPTON

The Sheriff’s 25th town hall in #Compton on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 was a great success. At the tremendous turnout, residents’ spoke about their concerns within their community. It was our pleasure to meet with them and detail LASD’s efforts to address the issues we face together. Marijuana dispensaries have been a concern in the community and we are diligently working with community leaders to close them. Sgt. Kitchen spoke about our Homeless Outreach Services Team (H.O.S.T.) and LASD’s efforts to assist and aid the homeless in the community. Thank you to all who attended. #WorkingTogether #Townhall

LASD Metrolink Bureau Spreads Holiday Cheer To Its Patrons 720 959 SIB Staff

LASD Metrolink Bureau Spreads Holiday Cheer To Its Patrons

LASD METROLINK BUREAU SPREADS HOLIDAY CHEER TO ITS PATRONS

#LASD Metrolink Bureau and Metrolink team up to bring the holiday cheer with the transit community.

Captain Ed Wells of Metrolink Bureau and Metrolink CEO Stephanie Wiggins join in on the fun by greeting all riders at this years Holiday Express Train at the Laguna Niguel Station. Toy donations were collected and give-always and holiday cheer were shared by all.

Thank you to all who participated, donated toys and their time. #CommunityInvolvement

CRDF Inmates
Sheriff Villanueva Spreads Holiday Cheer at Women’s Jail 1024 798 SIB Staff

Sheriff Villanueva Spreads Holiday Cheer at Women’s Jail

SHERIFF VILLANUEVA SPREADS HOLIDAY CHEER AT WOMEN’S JAIL

Holidays are typically a time to spend with family and friends, so for inmates away from their families, a temporary or permanent absence in the lives of their loved ones can magnify a difficult time, both physically and emotionally.

Yes, maybe they’ve done something they shouldn’t have done. But that should not allow us to forget the spirit of the season, where we open our hearts to one another. It’s a lesson in doing the right thing, for the right reason; about sharing acts of kindness and thoughtfulness with others to lift their spirits.

In choosing to be forgiving and compassionate, LASD Sheriff Alex Villanueva invited Mariachi to not only surprise the inmates, but also to remind them that they are not forgotten.

As Mariachi music is often present at important events and celebrations in the lives of Latino people, this beloved music has transcended language, geography and politics and brought people together.

Not only has music always given a voice to the lost and forgotten, for many it has evolved into a sort of soundtrack full of thoughts that turn into emotion. These acoustic harmonies show the power of music to heal.

Sheriff Villanueva’s Mariachi at CRDF, a women’s jail, is about the humanity behind a jail cell. “Every person is worthy and deserves respect as a human being,” said Sheriff Villanueva. “Just because they are here in jail does not mean they stop being human, or they stop feeling or stop thinking about their family members. We all have to think about loved ones that are inside the jails and in the hospitals on this Christmas day. It’s very important.”

For the staff at CRDF and first responders in general, working all if not most of the holidays is part of the job. Deputies and staff assigned to CRDF and scheduled to work during the holidays will miss family events. Although deputies will typically celebrate together by bringing in a dish, oftentimes those meals will be interrupted.

Sheriff Villanueva’s hope is that Mariachi fans among the deputies and staff at CRDF will become enchanted by the sounds of the guitars, trumpets and violins, uplifting their spirits in appreciation of their commitment and dedication in service to others.