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2022

LASD officials discuss the coc hearing on deputy subgroups 1024 512 SIB Staff

LASD officials discuss the coc hearing on deputy subgroups

Department Officials Discuss the Civilian Oversight commission’s Hearing on Deputy Subgroups and Cliques within the Sheriff’s Department

On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, Assistant Sheriff Holly Francisco and Chief April Tardy discussed developments and actions taken on alleged deputy subgroups and cliques within the Sheriff’s Department in response to allegations made by the Chair of the Civilian Oversight Commission, Sean Kennedy. 

In a news interview last week, Chair Sean Kennedy made the following statement: “It is time to hear from the Sheriff and Undersheriff Murakami and the other LASD officials who have the authority to address deputy gangs, but it appears have done nothing to do so.” 

His statement could not be further from the truth. Sheriff Villanueva has addressed and taken various steps to address the problem, build community trust, and counter the false narrative broadcasted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Civilian Oversight Commission (COC). Assistant Sheriff Holly Francisco presented factual evidence of Sheriff Villanueva’s steps to address deputy subgroups and cliques. 

On his very first day as the Sheriff, Villanueva removed the captain of the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station and replaced the entire command staff. Throughout 2019, 36 East Los Angeles Deputies were transferred to other stations, four were terminated, and 22 that were part of the Kennedy Hall investigation were suspended without pay. 

In February of 2020, Sheriff Villanueva successfully implemented a department policy that prohibits employees from participating in any clique or subgroup that promotes conduct that violates the rights of other employees or members of the public, the first sheriff in the department’s history to do so. Department training videos on the topic were created and distributed, personnel viewed these training materials, and mandatory briefings regarding cliques were conducted. 

Additionally, Sheriff Villanueva sponsored AB 958 legislation for Peace Officer Cliques with Assembly Member Mike Gipson; AB958 was signed into law on October 2021. The legislation is intended to tackle the issue of “gangs” among peace officers that might undermine the professional standards of policing among California’s law enforcement agencies. 

In August 2020, the Kennedy Hall investigation was completed, and Sheriff Villanueva held a press conference to announce the investigation results, including the termination and suspension of the deputies involved. In September 2020, Sheriff Villanueva sent a message to all personnel requesting their participation in the RAND Corporation study on deputy subgroups. Deputies were encouraged to complete the anonymous survey.  

In March 2021, a subgroups and cliques policy re-briefing email was sent to department members, including a reminder that all employees would be held accountable for any policy violation. Unit commanders had their personnel sign a copy of the policy stating that they read and understood it.

In February 2022, the department created a portal on the department’s website so that the public could report any evidence of deputy gangs or employee misconduct in the department (https://lasd.org/report-employee-misconduct/). 

After Assistant Sheriff Francisco outlined the Sheriff’s actions to dispel rumors of inaction, Chief April Tardy spoke about her experience implementing all the subgroup policies to encourage compliance. “In addition, we’re holding our supervisors accountable to monitor the workplace and encourage our deputies to continue to work hard, rebuild our community relationships and make good decisions,” said Chief April Tardy. 

“Our goal today was to truly show the amount of work we have done and negate the headlines that the Sheriff and the department have done nothing regarding the deputy subgroups and cliques. I think you can see that this is the farthest from the truth,” said Assistant Sheriff Holly Francisco. 

Contrary to what the media or some politicians claim, many policies have been implemented regarding deputy subgroups and cliques so the community can trust that law enforcement and personnel are held accountable.   

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Sheriff Alex Villanueva is the FIRST Los Angeles County Sheriff to successfully implement a policy banning “deputy cliques.” The policy went into effect.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Active Shooter Training Drill 1024 839 SIB Staff

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Active Shooter Training Drill

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Active Shooter Training Drill at Lakewood Mall

On Monday, June 13, 2022, during the early hours of the morning, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Tactics and Survival Training Unit, Lakewood Sheriff’s Station personnel, and Los Angeles County Fire Department conducted an active shooter response drill at Lakewood Center Mall in the city of Lakewood. Lakewood’s Mayor Steve Croft, Lakewood’s Public Safety Director, Joshua Yordt, and Mall Property Manager, Deena Henry, were also present during the drill.

Deputies wait for training.

Today’s event involved a rapid response by deputies, mall security personnel, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The training simulated a shooting at the mall, and it incorporated simulated gunfire. Although the drill was an organized training, responding deputies were unaware of how many shooters were inside the mall, nor did they know the location of the shooters. To make it even more realistic, “injured” volunteers ran away from the shooter and towards responding deputies.

The goal of the training was to prepare deputies for an actual emergency. The realistic component of the training prepared them to successfully identify and react to threats and articulate their observations and decision-making process.

People are placed in make up to simulate injuries from an active shooter.

The men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department constantly prepare and train for active shooter events. In these unpredictable situations that evolve very quickly, preparation is the key. Preventing these types of tragedies and continuing to maintain a safe environment is a goal of law enforcement. If an active shooter incident does occur, you can be assured that LASD personnel will respond rapidly, efficiently, and decisively.

Image of LASD Leutenant standing at a podium with a flyer that reads Case Solved.
Sheriff and Homicide Detectives announce a Solved Cold Case from the 1980s 1024 819 SIB Staff

Sheriff and Homicide Detectives announce a Solved Cold Case from the 1980s

Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Homicide Detectives announce a Solved Cold Case from the 1980’s

On Sunday, October 13, 1985, Victim David R. Evans was brutally beaten to death inside his residence in Claremont, CA. His body was discovered by Claremont Police Officers when neighbors called to report a possible burglary. At the time of the murder, the 57-year-old victim was the Vice President at Pomona First Federal Bank and former Pomona Unified School District Superintendent. David was divorced and lived by himself. In 1985, the investigation had few leads, and no suspects were identified. 

In 2006, advancements in forensic technology prompted investigators to re-analyze evidence discovered at the scene of the crime. The analysis led to the identification of Hillery Marcus Dupleasis as a person of interest. Over the next several years, the ongoing investigation failed to further implicate Dupleasis to the case. Investigators were also unable to establish that Dupleasis resided in California at the time of the crime.

In 2020, Detectives Shaun McCarthy and Bill Marsh re-investigated the case with the help of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Scientific Services Bureau and they were able to link Dupleasis, a person of interest identified in 2006, as the suspect in the murder of David Evans. 

Investigators were able to definitively determine Dupleasis lived in the San Gabriel Valley during the time of the murder and were also able to link Dupleases to the Victim’s 1980 Chevrolet Monza that was stolen immediately after his murder and abandoned in Covina, approximately two hours later.

Dupleasis is currently incarcerated in a New York State Prison, serving an extensive sentence for an unrelated murder. He will be eligible for parole in that case, in 2033.

On May 2, 2022, 1stdegree murder charges were filed against Dupleasis by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The 36-year-old cold case murder was solved by detectives assigned to the Homicide Bureau’s Unsolved Unit. Detectives worked closely with investigators from the Claremont Police Department, New York State Police, and the New York Department of Corrections.

It is never too late to provide information that will assist detectives solve a case. If someone knows something about a crime, please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. They can also provide information anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or use their smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile App on Google Play or the Apple App Store, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org/.

Image of Victim, David Evans
Image of suspect Hillery Marcus Dupleasis

Press Conference Video

Image of a deputy wearing a tan Sheriff's Uniform riding a 4 wheel motorcycle. he is riding on a beach with the ocean and skyline behind him.
Beach Patrol Mission 1024 863 SIB Staff

Beach Patrol Mission

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Announces the Beach Patrol Mission

On Saturday, May 28th, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) will officially kick off the LASD Beach Patrol Mission, which will run from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The beach patrol will consist of members from the Sheriff’s Response Team and the Mounted Enforcement Detail.

The team will perform high visibility patrol to assist LASD beach partners with extra patrol from Playa del Rey to Malibu. The LASD Homeless Outreach and Mental Evaluation Teams will be available and part of the deployment throughout the summer.

“Summer is upon us and the last couple of years have been challenging for everyone. I want to remind the community that we’re doing our best, we’re stretching our resources so that people feel safe wherever they are, including the beach areas of Los Angeles County. This summer, the LASD Beach Patrol Mission will be visible throughout our beaches so that visitors and the community have a great time at the beach,” stated Sheriff Villanueva.  

The Sheriff’s Department wants all residents and visitors to our LA County beaches to have a safe, and enjoyable summer. Please visit our social media pages for additional information. 

Sheriff Villanueva is standing at a podium infront of a TV that reads. "Dramatic Rise in crimes. Quality of life issues involving homlessnes on the Metro.
LASD Operation Safe Travel 1024 682 SIB Staff

LASD Operation Safe Travel

Sheriff Alex Villanueva announces LASD Operation Safe Travel

Within the last six months, there have been several crimes in the Metro system including people pushed on train tracks, unprovoked attacks on passengers by homeless individuals. Sexual assaults on female passengers, and a patron intentionally set on fire while riding the train have also been reported. Several of these crimes resulted in fatalities. 

According to Metro, approximately 5700 homeless people live on the train system and on the Metro platforms. This has created an enormous problem for those whose only transportation option is the train system.

On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a press conference to announce a new initiative to keep the public safe while they ride the Metro system. 

“The biggest problem we have right now on the entire transit system, is we have a homeless population that are living on the train system and on the platforms. And the intersection of that, and the people that are actually using the trains for their intended purpose, for travel, is colliding and it’s colliding with deadly results,” said Sheriff Villanueva.     

To halt the grave problem and to ensure the safety of Metro passengers, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is launching Operation Safe Travel. This will be a multi-layered approach to conduct targeted operations along the train system. The goal of the operation will be the safety of commuters by having high law enforcement visibility and the removal of homeless individuals from trains and platforms through homeless outreach and early intervention. Right now, security officers request assistance from deputies when a situation is out of their control and sometimes that intervention comes late. With early intervention, deputies can interact with an individual showing distress so that the situation does not escalate.  

Resources for the operation will include members of various units and bureaus from the LASD including the Sheriff’s Response Team, Community Oriented Policing Services, Homeless Outreach Services Team, Transportation Services Bureau Special Assignment Team, Mounted Enforcement Detail, Narcotics Bureau, Operation Safe Streets, Human Trafficking Detail and other units and bureaus from the Sheriff’s Department.  

Operation Safe Travel will begin on June 1st, 2022, and the first step of the multi-layer approach will be to remove individuals living on the transit system. LASD wants train commuters to see the difference and feel safe while using the Metro.

Train commuters and riders are encouraged to call this number to report any Metro non-emergency concerns: (213) 229-2298

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Los Angeles County Sheriff and other Officials Announce Crack Down on Illegal Marijuana Operations 1024 1024 SIB Staff

Los Angeles County Sheriff and other Officials Announce Crack Down on Illegal Marijuana Operations

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and other Officials Announce Crack Down on Illegal Marijuana Operations

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 17, 2022, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), the California National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife conducted a joint operation to take down multiple illegal marijuana grows in the Antelope Valley.

Almost a year after the most extensive drug operation in the history of the Sheriff’s Department took place, Sheriff Alex Villanueva returned to let everyone know that the operation continues to this day. In the first four months of 2022, the Marijuana Eradication Team (MET) served 116 marijuana cultivation-related search warrants. One hundred seven people were arrested, 100 were misdemeanors, and seven were felony arrests. Approximately 101,090 marijuana plants were seized, 53 firearms were confiscated, and 14,980 pounds of harvested marijuana were destroyed. 

Continuing in the spring of 2022, LASD narcotics investigators conducted aerial reconnaissance with the California National Guard Counterdrug Task Force. They identified 350 outdoor cultivation sites in the Antelope Valley, down from over 750 locations in 2021. This reduction in cultivation sites is directly related to increased enforcement efforts in the Antelope Valley.

MET investigators served search warrants at 80% of the identified sites and anticipate they will have 100% eradicated by the end of the fall of 2022. Most of these sites are connected to Mexican Cartels, Asian organized crime, and other organized crime groups. These illegal cultivation sites threaten the safety of communities, the environment, and wildlife. The unpermitted water wells being drilled to water the illegal crops affect underground aquifers. 

“We’ve already identified the problems that this causes here in the Antelope Valley. Downstream, illegal cannabis dispensaries in the basin are a source of extreme amounts of violence. You have robberies, you have murders that we’re handling. Other agencies have to handle in the basin, and they’re all tied to the cash trade down in these illegal dispensaries. In fact, illegal dispensaries outnumber the legal one 50 to 1. That will give you the size of the magnitude of the problem that we’re handling right here,” said Sheriff Villanueva.

“Supervisor Barger is thankful to the partners that are gathered here today for their diligent efforts to keep combatting illegal cannabis cultivation. Please know that you can continue to count on Supervisor Barger’s support,” said Helen Chavez on behalf of Supervisor Barger.   

“To any of those who are engaged in the illicit grows, I want you to know that there is a collective effort, and we’re coming after you. You can see, right here in these trailers, where your product is going to end up, and it’s not going to be on our streets. You’ve come after a very sacred thing: our community, you’ve come after our desert, and you’re stealing our water, you’re poisoning our land, and enough is enough! Said Assemblymember for CA 36th District, Tom Lackey.

In July of 2021, the LASD Narcotics investigators created the email address MarijuanaTips@lasd.org. This was done to facilitate and expedite the ability of residents to provide information directly to the detectives investigating marijuana cultivation cases. Detectives strongly encourage the public to use this email address to help eradicate this problem by the fall of 2022.

Press Conference Video

hundreds of people are standing at a starting line, the paved course is lined by large tall trees, all the people are dressed in running shirts, shorts and shoes.
Los Angeles Superhero 5K Run and Walk Health & Safety Expo 1024 742 SIB Staff

Los Angeles Superhero 5K Run and Walk Health & Safety Expo

Los Angeles Superhero 5K Run and Walk Health & Safety Expo

On April 2, Sheriff Villanueva and countless joined Crime Survivors in the Los Angeles Superhero 5K Run and Walk Health & Safety Expo. Congratulations to Patricia Wenskunas, Crime Survivors, Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau, and all the organizers on a successful event. Together we can keep helping raise awareness, prevention, advocacy, and healing throughout Los Angeles County.

We are better and stronger together! Survive & Thrive!!!

Thank you to all the Sheriff’s Department personnel and the Sheriff’s Community Advisory Council who participated in this great event.

Video

Homicide Detectives ask for the Publics Help in the Murder of Reginald Thompson Sr. 791 1024 SIB Staff

Homicide Detectives ask for the Publics Help in the Murder of Reginald Thompson Sr.

Homicide Detectives and Family Members will ask for the Public’s Help for Information in the Murder of Reginald Thompson Sr.

On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, Homicide Bureau Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) held a press conference to announce a $20,000 reward in exchange for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the murder of Reginald Thompson Sr. The reward is sponsored by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Second District.

On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, a little before 9:00 p.m., 34-year-old Reginald Thompson, Sr. was talking to friends in the parking lot of a shopping center, located in the 11400 block of South Vermont Ave., in the southwest corner of Imperial Highway and Vermont Avenue, in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles.  As they were talking, four suspects parked their vehicle on Vermont Avenue just south of the shopping center. The suspects exited a dark-colored sedan, approached and fired several times at Thompson and his friends. Thompson was struck by gunfire and later succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital. The suspects fled the location in the vehicle and headed south on Vermont Ave.

“My son was a father, he was a brother, he was a friend. He was fun, he was loving, and he did not deserve to be tragically struck. This could be anybody standing here, and I don’t want to see other mothers suffer the pain and sorrow that I’ve had to endure from my family. We are devastated and if you saw something, please say something,” said Reginald’s mom, Caren Stephens.

On April 19, 2022, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a reward in the amount of $20,000 in exchange for information leading to the apprehension and/or conviction of those responsible for the death of Reginald.

“I wish to share my heartfelt condolences with the family of Reginald Thompson, Sr. for their tragic loss,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly J. Mitchell, author of the motion that established this reward. “I encourage anyone who may have information that could help with this investigation to please come forward so that justice can be achieved for Reginald and his family.”

“My kid’s father was a very loving man. He was a great D.J., an amazing writer, he had a beautiful voice that was out of this world. I pictured my life, my whole future raising my kids with him in it. I never imagined that I would have to lose him so soon,” said a tearful Daysharee Vallier.    

LASD Homicide detectives believe there are witnesses who may have seen the suspects leave the area and/or know their identities. If you have information about Reginald’s murder, please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or if you prefer to provide information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile App on Google Play or the Apple App Store, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org/.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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press conference material

Surveillance Video

image of award recipeints standing next to the sheriff. Two pastors and the sheriff is next to a podium.
Sheriff awards two Pastors for community Support 1024 794 SIB Staff

Sheriff awards two Pastors for community Support

Sheriff awards two Pastors for community Support

This morning, Sheriff Alex Villanueva recognized Pastor Marvin Rodriguez from “City of Refuge” and Pastor Eric Tietze from “Heart of Compassion Ministry” for their dedication to assist the community and improve their quality of life.

Pastor Rodriguez recruits at-risk children within the city of Pico Rivera and outlying areas into his boxing organization, “Marvin Nation” where he provides them with free lessons, life skills, and a strict moral compass. In 2020, he joined the CAC and had since donated 25,000 boxes of food since the onset of the pandemic.

Pastor Tietze tirelessly serves the Los Angeles County community and his ministry. Over the past three years, Pastor Eric has donated over 40 million pounds of food to community members in need.

Pastors Rodriguez and Tietze were awarded for their humanitarian efforts in feeding thousands of families in need throughout Los Angeles County. 

Recent Lawsuit by a Disgruntled Employee 1024 512 SIB Staff

Recent Lawsuit by a Disgruntled Employee

Recent Lawsuit by a Disgruntled Employee

On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a press conference to discuss a recent lawsuit by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) employee. The Sheriff began with a timeline of events of the investigation related to them that can be viewed below the video under press conference material. 

Sheriff Villanueva reiterated that there was no “cover-up” or a “whistle-blower,” everything was documented from the beginning, and the investigation continued. 

The video of the UOF surrounding the lawsuit was part of an active criminal case when it was shared with the media. Sharing the video was not a leak; it was considered an obstruction of justice since it was part of an investigation. Pictures of three individuals involved in the video distribution were shown: retired LASD Commander Eliezer Vera, Inspector General Max Huntsman, and LA Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian. 

Sheriff Villanueva concluded by stating that the foundation of the lawsuit in question was false. He shared he and his team are excited to testify on the matter under oath in front of a grand jury in a federal court. He named three command staff members and said he does not use “unnamed” or “multiple sources.”

“We have serious issues to handle out there. We have violent crime, we have homelessness out of control, defunding, and on top of that, I have this circus. This entirely orchestrated for political purposes only,” said Sheriff Villanueva.

When asked by a reporter if the department was investigating Alene from the LA Times, Sheriff Villanueva said the matter was under investigation. He said stolen property was removed illegally from people who had some intent and would be subject to investigation.

Press Conference Video LINK

Press Conference Material

Power Point Slides – PDF

Investigation Timeline – PDF

Timeline Memo – PDF