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Press Conference

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

Press conference video

press conference material

Surveillance Video

Sheriff is standing behind a podium. Undersheriff Murakami is over the sheriff's shoulder. A TV screen has an image of the METRO board of supervisors on it.
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Sheriff MTA announcement

Sheriff Alex Villanueva Makes a Major Announcement Regarding LASD’s MTA Contract Bid

Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a press conference to make a significant announcement regarding the Los Angeles Sheriff Department and the MTA. The Sheriff expressed his concern regarding public safety on the Metro Transit System in Los Angeles.

Sheriff Villanueva provided statistical information regarding the increase in crime dating back to September 2020 and highlighted examples of violent assaults that occurred on the railways: two LASD deputies ambushed at the Metro Compton Station in September of 2020; A Metro train operator was shot at the Metro Indiana Gold Line Station while operating the train In January 2021; 4 passengers inside the train were shot by known gang members at the Wilmington Station in September 2021. Lastly, in November 2021, a passenger was fatally shot in the head. The suspect also attempted to kill responding Deputies at the Wilmington station. 

Sheriff Villanueva expressed how the MTA has turned into an unsafe environment, as several critical incidents have occurred this past year alone. In March 2020, a patron was pushed on the tracks at 7th and Metro Station by a homeless person. That patron suffered severe head trauma. February 2022, a homeless man was cut in half after sleeping on the tracks. January 2022, Sandra Shells was attacked and killed at a bus stop near Union Station. Sheriff Alex Villanueva expressed that the various law enforcement agencies covering the railways and bus routes does not provide adequate coverage due to jurisdictional issues and the stifling of enforcement placed upon peace officers by Metro Board regulations.  

Sheriff Villanueva discussed the Metro Board’s policy on private security and the inability to enforce quality of life issues on the metro system. The Sheriff stated, “cops cannot remove an unruly passenger from the trains. This has caused MTA patrons to fear for their safety while onboard the system, and at times, the paying patrons are asked to exit the train. The MTA board only allows the homeless, unruly, drunk, and criminal people on board the trains and buses.” 

LASD has provided law enforcement services for Metro since 1997. The LASD has always had full-time personnel strictly assigned and trained for public transit policing. Currently, LASD deploys 300 deputies assigned to Transit Services Bureau. 

The Metro Board defunded LASD and, in 2017, decided to move to a multi-agency contract with LAPD and Long Beach Police Department. LASD was reduced to the lowest possible staffing levels, which endangered public and rider safety. Metro Board has expressed its desire to shift from armed law enforcement response to nonviolent crimes and code of conduct violations. 

Sheriff Villanueva added the Department intends to bid for the complete Metro Board contract to provide comprehensive law enforcement and public safety services to the entire Bus and railway system. If the bid is denied, LASD personnel will be deployed elsewhere in the county to fulfill staffing vacancies. Sheriff Villanueva further stated, “Effective July 1, 2022, LASD will redeploy our personnel to other critical public safety needs, absent a commitment by the Metro Board upon expiration of the contract.”

Press Conference Video

Press Conference Material

Letter to MTA Board – PDF

Press Conference Slide Presentation – PDF

Operation Reclaim and Rebuild 1024 683 SIB Staff

Operation Reclaim and Rebuild

Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force Announces Arrests and Rescues by California Law Enforcement During Operation Reclaim and Rebuild

During a press conference on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced details and results from the seventh annual Operation Reclaim and Rebuild enforcement operation, conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and more than 80 participating federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and task forces from across California.  The week-long, statewide effort aimed at combatting human trafficking took place between Sunday, February 6, and Saturday, February 12, 2022, and was conducted in various mediums and met with positive results.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva was joined by executives and representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department, San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office, Santa Ana Police Department, United States Attorney’s Office, Saving Innocence, Zoe International and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

Operation Reclaim and Rebuild focused on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, providing victims with much-needed services, identifying and arresting their captors, seeking successful prosecutions, and disrupting the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their customers.  Police agencies and other trafficking task forces throughout our state joined in the enforcement operation to send the clear message that California law enforcement shares a unified mandate:   Human trafficking must not be tolerated in our state!

In preparation for the event, an operational planning meeting took place in Los Angeles, with over 200 federal, state and municipal law enforcement detectives from all over California in attendance.  Investigators focused enforcement operations wherever the trafficking of human beings took place, from confronting the reality of sidewalk prostitution by conducting demand operations, to challenging the virtual reality of the cyber world where traffickers believe they can operate anonymously using the internet. 

The internet furnishes a vast variety of opportunities for traffickers, but with the experience of specially-trained cyber detectives who posed as vulnerable teenagers and interacted with suspects on social media, traffickers and customers who were anxious to exploit found their plans foiled. 

Victims encountered during enforcement efforts were cared for by personnel from various Department of Children and Family Services Agencies and victim service providers in each county.  In Los Angeles County, South Los Angeles Anti-Trafficking Committee, comprised of Saving Innocence, Zoe International, Journey Out and many other local service providers coordinated the emergency services response for victim care and collaborated with similar, non-governmental victim service organizations throughout the state.

Operation Reclaim and Rebuild was widely successful in its endeavor with 65 adult and 7 minor victims being recovered; 182 males arrested for the charge of Solicitation; and 30 suspected traffickers and exploiters were arrested.  In total, 413 arrests were made. 

Sheriff Villanueva relayed the mission, efforts and results of Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, he gave a firm direction to the Victims, he reiterated, “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and our partners stand with each victim of this heinous crime.  You are the focus of this endeavor.  We are here for you.  We are here to help you reclaim your freedom from the binds of sex trafficking, and to provide you the support and tools to rebuildyour lives.”

 To the traffickers and solicitors: “We will not tolerate the enslavement and trafficking of others in any form.  We will seek you out and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.

  To the Johns:  “Purchasing commercial sex is illegal and buying sex adds to the exploitation of those involved.”

The Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, which oversaw the coordinated effort, defined the undertaking, “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild is a state-wide operation which displays the mutual commitment of California law enforcement, social service agencies, and victim service providers in the fight to end sex trafficking.   The L.A. Regional Human Trafficking Task Force is an example of how individual entities can be far more effective, when they join together in a shared mission.  Today, 7 children have been rescued from their exploiters and 65 women have been connected with the services necessary to rebuild their lives, free from exploitation.”

The Executive Director, Alan Smyth from “Saving Innocence” challenged the media by stating “Human Trafficking happens all year long, every day. The big sporting event just left town but you know what? We haven’t left town and we are going to be here every single day in combating this incredible, brutal crime that has been perpetrated on our most vulnerable. So the biggest mistake we can make would be turning off our cameras and not writing anymore articles because somehow we think human trafficking is gone because the Super Bowl is not here anymore. I want to stand before you and tell you, it has not gone away.”  

“From top to bottom, California is committed to the fight against human trafficking,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “We’re working all across the state to hold accountable those who use force, fraud, or coercion to exploit people for labor or sex, and provide services to those they victimize. Our teams — whether in San Diego, Fresno, or Sacramento — are on the ground day-in and day-out to secure justice, and protect and help heal those who are abused and exploited. We’re proud to continue to support our partners through Operation Reclaim and Rebuild. Together, we’re helping build safer communities for all.”

The following agencies and task forces participated:

L.A. Regional Human Trafficking Task Force

Operation Reclaim & Rebuild

2022 Participants

Human Trafficking Task Forces

Contra Costa County Human Trafficking Task Force

          Concord Police Department

          Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office

          Contra Costa County Probation Department

          Contra Costa County, Office of the Sheriff

          El Cerrito Police Department

          FBI Safe Streets (Contra Costa County)

          Homeland Security Investigations

          Lafayette Police Department

          Martinez Police Department

          Pittsburg Police Department

          Richmond Police Department

          San Pablo Police Department

          San Ramon Police Department

          Walnut Creek Police Department

Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force        

          California Attorney General

          California Highway Patrol

          Federal Bureau of Investigations

          Homeland Security Investigations

          Inglewood Police Department

          LA County District Attorney’s Office

          LA County Probation Department

          LA County Sheriff’s Department

          Los Angeles Airport Police

          United States Attorney’s Office

Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force 

          Anaheim Police Department

          California Highway Patrol

          Irvine Police Department

          Orange County District Attorney’s Office

          Orange County Sheriff’s Department

          Santa Ana Police Department

Placer Special Operation Unit   

          Lincoln Police Department

          Placer County Sheriff’s Office

          Rocklin Police Department

Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force        

          Homeland Security Investigations

          Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

          Riverside Police Department

San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force     

          California Highway Patrol

          California State Parole

          Homeland Security Investigations

          San Bernardino County Probation Department

          San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force

          California Department of Justice – Attorney General’s Office

          California Highway Patrol

          Federal Bureau of Investigations

          Homeland Security Investigations

          National City Police Department

          San Diego City Attorney’s Office

          San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

          San Diego County Probation Department

          San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

          San Diego Police Department

          United States Attorney’s Office

San Luis Obispo County Human Trafficking Task Force   

          California Department of Justice

          California Highway Patrol – Coastal Division

          Federal Bureau of Investigations

          San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office

          San Luis Obispo County Probation Department

          San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office

          San Luis Obispo Police Department

Santa Barbara County Human Trafficking Task Force        

          Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office

          Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department

          Santa Barbara Police Department

          Santa Maria Police Department

Tulare County Human Trafficking Task Force   

          California Department of Justice, Fresno SPAT Unit

          Tulare County District Attorney’s Office

          Tulare County Sheriff’s Department

          Tulare Police Department

          Visalia Police Department

Ventura County Human Trafficking Task Force

          California State University Channel Islands

          Homeland Security Investigations

          Simi Valley Police Department

          Ventura County District Attorney’s Office

          Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

Agencies

Brentwood Police Department**  

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Parole)     

Chula Vista Police Department    

Costa Mesa Police Department   

Fresno Police Department  

Huntington Beach Police Department  

Laguna Beach Police Department

Long Beach Police Department   

Merced Police Department 

Modesto Police Department

Napa County Sheriff’s Department       

Oakdale Police Department         

Pittsburg Police Department**      

Pomona Police Department

Sacramento Police Department   

San Francisco Police Department        

Santa Ana Police Department**   

Solano County Sheriff’s Department    

Stanislaus County Probation         Department

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department        

Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office  

Suisun City Police Department    

Turlock Police Department  

Vacaville Police Department        

Vallejo Police Department   

**Agency participated with task force and independently

Press Conference video:

slides from press conference:

https://lasd.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/021522.HTTF_.ReclaimRebuild.PC_.pdf

Family Seeks Public’s Help To Solve The Murder of Otis Rayjon Williams 1024 683 SIB Staff

Family Seeks Public’s Help To Solve The Murder of Otis Rayjon Williams

On Monday, February 9, 2022, Homicide Bureau detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department held a press conference to ask for the public’s help for information leading to the identification of the vehicle and suspect(s) responsible for the murder of Otis Rayjon Williams.

On Friday, July 3, 2020, at approximately 8:30 p.m., 14 year-old Otis Rayjon Williams was shot and killed while walking to a local market listening to music, in an alley south of 98th Street between Central Avenue and Pace Avenue. This tragic incident occurred in the Florence-Firestone area of Los Angeles.

Detectives released video of the incident which shows the suspect vehicle stopped, the suspect’s arm reached out of the driver side window, and attempted to fire at Otis. It appeared the gun malfunctioned, and the suspect cleared the malfunction by racking the slide of the gun. Once cleared, the suspect fired several shots at Otis, striking him in the upper torso. The vehicle fled west on 98th Street, then onto South Central Avenue and out of view.

The suspect vehicle is described as a 2015-2018 blue Dodge Challenger and had no front license plate. At the time of the shooting, the hood, roof and trunk had a broad dark-colored stripe that runs from the front to the back. In addition, it had a dark-colored rear spoiler and an insignia reading “Challenger RT” on the front grill.

Otis was 14 years old and the youngest of 7 siblings. Otis enjoyed playing basketball, listening to music and loved joking with his siblings.

“He was a good boy. He was respectful and he respected all his elders and we just miss him. He was the baby. I have 7 kids and he was the baby of the family. He was my little buddy. I don’t understand how this can happen and why? My main thing is why?…He was just a kid, why would you do that? I’m just hoping the public knows something and comes forward” said Francine Brazil, Otis’ mom.

If you have information about Otis’ senseless 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/.

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2021 Year in Review Recap of LASD

Sheriff Alex Villanueva Provides A Year In Review Recap Of LASD, Crime Stats And Department Goals for 2022

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva provided a recap of 2021 during a press conference at the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, January 19, 2022. The Sheriff discussed the topics of crime, jail violence, personnel shortage, accountability, the Public Corruption Unit, accomplishments, homelessness and goals.

In general, violent crime went up, with a two-year increase in homicides by 94% and grand theft auto was up by 59%. Some crime went down due to the pandemic because people were home and businesses were closed.

Jail violence went down steadily for two years, but there was an uptick in 2021 and that was also as a result of the pandemic. Jail population in 2018 was 17,000, it was decompressed to 11,500 to prevent the spread of COVID in the jails, and now it is close to 13,000. The percentage of inmates suffering from diagnosed mental illnesses is up to 36%, and the lack of staffing due to budget cuts, has impacted violence in the jails.

Staffing levels in the department continue to create a challenge in daily operations. Patrol stations are operating at 71%. When deputies are either injured, relieved of duty, light duty, or retire, there is nobody to replace them. Deputies working at the stations have to cover absences and that impacts public safety. Positions continue to be filled in all other Los Angeles County departments, except for the Sheriff’s Department. 

The pandemic also affected the total volume of contact with the community. It decreased from 2.5 million to 2.1 million. However, statistically, the use of force was very small. Use of force involving a fatality was even smaller. Commendations from the public were greater than complaints and that shows the department is making progress.

Accountability is something Sheriff Villanueva takes great pride in. Under his leadership, a total of 949 personnel members have been disciplined, 132 have been discharged for offenses that include use of alcohol, false statements, sexual misconduct, domestic violence and excessive force. In addition, in 2021, Sheriff Villanueva ordered an organizational change in administrative investigations that allows for a concurrent administrative and criminal investigation for specific cases to speed up investigations. Currently, there is one case from 2016, one from 2017, two from 2018, 12 from 2019 (including the Ryan Twyman case), 19 from 2020 and eight deputy-involved shooting cases at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office that are still pending. Sheriff Villanueva expressed his frustration and said such investigations should take 90 days and not six years.

Sheriff Villanueva also discussed the Public Corruption Unit, a unit that has existed for decades but was never formalized. Since its formal inception during his administration, the unit has worked on 24 cases, 10 of them are open investigations, 14 of them are closed, three of them were presented to the DA and six of them have been presented to state and federal agencies. Sheriff Villanueva reiterated that the unit does not investigate individuals, it investigates complaints of criminal conduct.

One of the accomplishments Sheriff Villanueva is very proud of is the Special Alert System for 911 calls involving mental health crises. This program allows families to register a loved one who suffers from any impairment in our system so that deputies know ahead of time and use the best approach on the person involved. 

In 2022, Sheriff Alex Villanueva will start a pilot program in Men’s Central Jail. On February 1st, the Department will begin testing the use of 50 body-worn cameras inside of the jail. On February 13th, the Department will begin testing the use of the “live streaming” feature of the body-worn cameras in patrol for the benefit of the Mental Evaluation Teams. The Homeless Outreach Services Team will continue to provide help and house homeless individuals especially on tourist destinations like they did on Venice and Olvera Street. He will continue to put dents on illegal cannabis grows. Securement of rail corridors is in his immediate plans. Fighting crime and the safety of residents will continue to be a priority, but he urged the Board of Supervisors to support law enforcement.

Press Conference Video

Press Conference Material

Press Conference Slides – PDF

To view the video of the Ryan Twyman incident which occurred on Thursday, June 6, 2019, visit: https://youtu.be/pDDGCwucfto


To listen to the audio of Supervisor Janice Hahn from the Operations Safety & Customer Experience Committee Meeting, LA Metro -Thursday, November 18, 2021, visit: https://metro.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2024 and refer to minute 30:31-30:40

Sheriff Alex Villanueva in uniform pointing at a screen with a long wooden pointer. the screen has a budget in a table with numbers annotated in red. the text is too small to read from the picture taken.
Effects of defunding the LASD on Public Safety 900 450 SIB Staff

Effects of defunding the LASD on Public Safety

The continued defunding of the Sheriff’s Department and the effects on Public Safety

During a press conference held Tuesday morning, December 14, 2021, at the Hall of Justice, Sheriff Alex Villanueva discussed the significantly defunded budget of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD).

He started the press conference by showing a segment of the December 7, 2021, Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting in which Los Angeles County CEO, Fesia Davenport, and Fourth District LA County Supervisor, Janice Hahn, discuss the Sheriff’s Department budget. Supervisor Hahn believes it’s a myth that the BOS is defunding the Sheriff’s Department and asks Davenport for clarification. Davenport explains that last year and this year’s budgets are about the same, “but in 2019 the Board approved the CEO’s recommendation to set aside about 143.7 million dollars in the Sheriff’s budget for services and supplies. What essentially happened, supervisors is, we set that money aside at the outset of the budget year…” says Davenport, as Supervisor Hahn interrupts and says: “That’s not the answer that we want…” while she covers her mouth.

Sheriff Villanueva continued the press conference with a presentation in which the first slide showed the LASD budget of the last 10 years. The information obtained from the Los Angeles County CEO’s budget website, showed a decrease of the percentage of total county budget from 11.7% (during former Sheriff McDonnell) to the current 8.9% under Villanueva’s leadership. “If Supervisor Hahn’s position is that there is a myth here, well, then they’re perpetuating this myth, and the grim reality is the fact that we’re being defunded and at the worst time possible in the history of County,” said Sheriff Villanueva.   

Sheriff Villanueva noted that cities and states that defunded law enforcement agencies across the United States including: Rochester, NY; Rochester, MN; Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, and the City of Los Angeles, had regretted it and had reversed the decision, except for Los Angeles County. In addition to the defunding, a total of 1281 were removed from the department’s budget. On top of the positions removed, the current vacancy is 1,370, of which 686 are sworn and 684 are civilian positions. One might argue that if a position is vacant, it wasn’t needed anyway, and won’t be missed if eliminated.  On the contrary, vacant positions across LASD are necessary and, because of already-existing staff shortages, are filled by paying overtime spots, which only compounds budget issues.

The national average for all metropolitan law enforcement agencies across the nation is 3.8 cops per 1000 residents; New York Police Department has more than four, Los Angeles Police Department has 2.2. The average for all agencies throughout the nation is 2.5 cops per every 1000 residents. LASD is operating at 0.9 cops per 1000 residents. Academy classes were cut from 12 to four per year, and as a result, there are not enough deputies to cover attrition. Patrol stations are currently at 71% staffing, which means mandatory overtime for deputies. LASD is the only county department that remains on a hiring freeze.

Cutting the LASD budget affects the services we provide and takes away vital law enforcement services from everyone. Defunding law enforcement ultimately hurts public safety and that is not a myth.

Press Conference Video

Press Conference Material

Press Conference Presentation

“Smash and Grab” Thefts
Sheriff Alex Villanueva is standing behind a wood Podium speaking to media. He is standing infront of a green curtain next to County and California flags. There is a TV screen, on the screen the slide reads: "Vaccination Mandates by County: San Bernardino, no; Orange, no; Riverside, no; Ventura, no; Kern, no;'
Imminent Threat to Public Safety due to Vaccine Mandates 1024 683 SIB Staff

Imminent Threat to Public Safety due to Vaccine Mandates

Sheriff Villanueva addresses the imminent threat to public safety if terminations occur in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department due to vaccine mandates.

During a press conference at the Hall of Justice on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, Sheriff Alex Villanueva discussed the imminent threat that vaccine mandates will have on areas serviced by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Using a power point presentation, Sheriff Villanueva showed how deputies have begun to leave the department. From October 2019 through October 2020, there were 515 retirements. From October 2020 to October 2021, there were 617 retirements, a difference of 102 deputies who have filed for retirement.  Many of those retiring have institutional knowledge and are experts in their fields with over 28 years of experience.  Sheriff Villanueva shared that 238 sworn personnel have stated their interest in leaving the department.

Workers’ compensation claims are also on the rise and have increased by 21.9% this last year.  He stated that from October 2019 to October 2020, there were 1,434 workers’ compensation claims and as of October 2020 to October 2021, there were 1,749, many attributed to the vaccine mandates.

As of today, 51.7% of the department’s personnel are fully vaccinated and 1.7% are semi-vaccinated. He stated the reason for the low vaccination numbers was due to many not having faith in the vaccine or the political ideology behind the vaccine.

Sheriff Villanueva cautioned that there are 4,185 staff members, both sworn and professional, who may be subject to termination because of the vaccine mandate; 3,137 of the 4,185 are sworn deputies.

The five counties that surround Los Angeles County do not have vaccine mandates and at least half of the department’s sworn personnel do not live in the County of Los Angeles. They can easily apply for employment in those counties.

Public safety is the priority of the Sheriff’s Department and vaccine mandates are an imminent threat to the safety of the communities the department serves. The department is in danger of losing a significant number of deputies and it would be detrimental to the safety of residents of Los Angeles County.

Press Conference Video

Sheriff Announces Special Alert form and presents Check to Autism Society of LA 1024 682 SIB Staff

Sheriff Announces Special Alert form and presents Check to Autism Society of LA

Sheriff Alex Villanueva announces special alert form and presents check to Autism Society of Los Angeles

On Monday, November 1st, 2021, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced the Special Alert program during a press conference at the Hall of Justice. This program will assist deputies when responding to calls that involve those who are suspected of having or have been diagnosed with an intellectual, mental, or physical disability. During this same press conference, Sheriff Villanueva also presented a check from the sale of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department autism lapel pins, to the Autism Society of Los Angeles.

In an effort to better serve and understand the needs of community members suspected of having or diagnosed with a disability, the Department developed a program to allow caregivers or family members to voluntarily provide information about a person living in their home who is suspected of having or has been diagnosed with an intellectual, mental, or physical disability.

If caregivers would like to participate in the program, all they need to do is fill out the Special Alert form that can be accessed on www.lasd.org under resources and take it to their nearest Sheriff’s Station. The Department will then enter a “Special Alert” in its computer dispatch system, and deputies will receive certain information when responding. By providing this information in advance, people are alerting deputies about the needs of the person at home who is suspected of having or has been diagnosed with an intellectual, mental, or physical disability. This important information may help them decide how to best approach the situation and what resources to bring with them.

“Thank you Sheriff Villanueva. Just thrilled to hear about the steps that the Sheriff’s Department is taking to improve the safety of encounters between law enforcement and those on the spectrum,” said Andy Kopito, President of the Autism Society of Los Angeles.    

“Having this information really gives everybody a leg up, so we know how to de-escalate it properly, who are the responsible people or what issues might be useful in communicating successfully with this individual,” said Sheriff Villanueva.   Those interested in filling out the Special Alert form, may download it by clicking https://lasd.org/specialalert/ and take it to their nearest Sheriff’s station.  

Sheriff presenting a slide infront of large screen
Sheriff Addresses BOS proposed budget cuts 1024 819 SIB Staff

Sheriff Addresses BOS proposed budget cuts

Sheriff Villanueva Addresses Board of Supervisors’ Proposed Budget Cut, Its Effect on Operations Now and Through the Year 2023

SHERIFF VILLANUEVA ADDRESSES BOARD OF SUPERVISORS’ PROPOSED BUDGET CUT, ITS EFFECT ON OPERATIONS NOW AND THROUGH THE YEAR 2023

In early May, 2020, the Board of Supervisors recommended a budget of $3.5 billion for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department 2020-2021 fiscal year, a staggering $400 million short of the $3.9 billion budget needed to run it. This shortage affects the most valuable asset we have: Staff.“The Sheriff’s Department is forced to run in the red because the Board of Supervisors does not prioritize public safety and they are the ones that hold the checkbook,” said Sheriff Villanueva during a virtual press conference given Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at the Sherman Block Building in Monterey Park.Watch as Sheriff Villanueva outlines several cuts to the LASD budget and the impact on LASD for years to come.To read more, visit: https://lasd.org/sheriff-addresses-bos-proposed-budget-cuts/

Posted by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

How ironic it is that the nation’s biggest sheriff’s department is largely understaffed and underfunded.  With an obligation to provide law enforcement services to one of the top ten largest populations across the United States, ensuring there is an adequate amount of funds to keep it operating smoothly and efficiently throughout natural, manmade and circumstantial events is quite a task.

In early May, 2020, the Board of Supervisors recommended a budget of $3.5 billion for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department 2020-2021 fiscal year, a staggering $400 million short of the $3.9 billion budget needed to run it.  This shortage affects the most valuable asset we have:  Staff.  With an already-existing vacancy of 712 positions, a budget  reduction would limit the new backfill of recruits to be trained and shrink our agency significantly, with a projected number of more than 1,300 sworn vacancies in fiscal year 2022-2023 and an escalated amount of overtime to cover those positions.

Still, cuts must be made.  Sheriff Villanueva proposed to reduce the number of academy classes from 12 to eight per year, which would provide a yearly cost savings of almost $22 million.  With the average attrition rate of 421 sworn personnel per year, that would shrink our organization by 160 sworn personnel per year.  These are devastating numbers, but less so than the Board of Supervisors’ desire to slash the number of academy classes from 12 to four per year, allowing the hire of only 175 deputies.  That number, subtracted from the 421 average attrition rate, would shrink our organization by upward of 250 deputies per year and leave our agency in a dangerous lurch.

Not having funds to cycle sufficient new bodies through academy classes will eventually bring movement to a grinding halt:  New bodies won’t be enough to fill custody positions, which would otherwise push custody deputies out into vacant patrol assignments, which would clog up the promotion process of filling mandatory supervisorial positions. 

“The Sheriff’s Department is forced to run in the red because the Board of Supervisors does not prioritize public safety and they are the ones that hold the checkbook,” said Sheriff Villanueva during a virtual press conference given Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at the Sherman Block Building in Monterey Park.

Shorting the budget would actually create a larger deficit and proves that funding academy classes would save money over time.  Drafting, or ordering, personnel to remain for a second shift to fill a staffing vacancy costs 50% more because of the overtime factor.  As an example of the inflated cost to fill voids:  One lieutenant vacancy costs $172,500 in overtime per year, one sergeant vacancy costs $145,200 in overtime per year, and one deputy vacancy costs $120,600 per year.  By not providing budget monies up front, it will cost Los Angeles County taxpayers more in the end.

Fatigue is another factor.  Patrol and custody staff forced to work overtime and cover mandatory staffing minimums with no relief in sight suffer added stress, and physical and emotional fatigue.  We must remember everything boils down to our best and most important asset, and see them as a whole person with limits, not as a robot.  “It is not fair to as them [deputies] to work large amounts of overtime to continuously supplement our vacancy shortages,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger in April, 2018.

To compensate for the shortage, Sheriff Alex Villanueva looked at a variety of measures other than cutting academy classes, to ensure the basics were covered.  These included cutting unfunded programs and integrating those personnel into line positions, closing two patrol stations, eliminating two bureaus, and curtailing detective positions. 

Although under threat of a misdemeanor charge by the Board of Supervisors if he does not come under budget, the Sheriff articulated his obligation to meet not only their demands, but those of the law, the Constitution, contracts held, consent decree, etc., made difficult under such financial constraint.  “We’ve gone through everything that is physically possible to make our organization as lean and effective as possible, but we are still burdened,” said Sheriff Villanueva. 

Budget shortages are not new.  Sheriff Villanueva pointed out financial shortfalls during the tenure of previous administrations and Boards of Supervisors.  For fiscal year 2018-2019, CEO Sachi Hamai warned the Board of Supervisors of a $101.8 million budget deficit, primarily for unfunded employee benefits costs, separation pay and miscellaneous pay.   These shortfalls are not to be borne; it is a breech to approve contracts of agreement with labor unions to pay employees and refuse to fund it.  CEO Hamai told Board members in April, 2018, about our longstanding status of being understaffed and underfunded, “The numbers reflect a historical imbalance in place for the last 20 years, long before the Sheriff was elected,” and, “The Sheriff’s budget does not reflect the actual spending in many of the line item categories.”   

Since taking office in 2018, Sheriff Villanueva alleviated the budget by eliminating numerous executive positions, consolidating ten bureaus in to five, mandating divisions to reduce overtime by 50% while striving to maintain essential activities, and eliminating non-line positions.  With all this chopping, however, the Board of Supervisors continues to offer a lowball proposal.

Sheriff Villanueva closed the event by offering to meet with the Board of Supervisors and have them identify which activities they wish to curtail (to meet the budget).  “We can no longer play games with public safety and pretend, somehow, we have the resources to cover the need.  We don’t,” he said.

Large sign that reads, : Covid-19 Regional Decontamination Center.
Innovation and Fiscal Responsibility, in the Face of COVID-19 900 643 SIB Staff

Innovation and Fiscal Responsibility, in the Face of COVID-19

Innovation and Fiscal Responsibility, in the Face of COVID-19

During a virtual press conference given Monday, April 27, 2020, Sheriff Alex Villanueva was joined by Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Service; Chief Daryl Osby, Los Angeles County Fire Department; Captain Chris Kovac, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department-Custody Support Services; and Director Wesley Grose, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department-Scientific Services Bureau. 

Sheriff Alex Villanueva Speaking at a podium infront of thousands of masks inside a decontamination Center.

The event was held at the COVID-19 Regional Decontamination Center, located at the first Los Angeles County custody facility built in 1963 specifically for women and named for philanthropist and women’s rights advocate, Sybil Brand.  The Sybil Brand Institute, located in East Los Angeles, was innovative for its time and continues to be so, in contemporary times, as well.

Front of the Regional Decontamination Center. Masks sit infront of a large window, viewable from the courtyard.

Sheriff Villanueva began the conference with a reminder to continue practicing physical distancing protocols, then outlined the reflection of lowered percentages in crime statistics calculated during the COVID-19 quarantine, as compared to last year.

Because medical and public safety personnel often find themselves in positions and situations with a greater potential for exposure to COVID-19, Sheriff Villanueva collaborated with some of our county partners to create a decontamination center, from which they spoke.  Captain Kovac recognized the need for such a place, in light of a world shortage of N95 masks and gowns, and counterfeit products.  He questioned if it were possible to sanitize and reuse the personal protective equipment we already have.  Research identified a process called Hydrogen Peroxide Vaporization, which could make cleaning and reuse of the equipment possible, and extend the life of our inventory, as well as our budget.  “Innovation and fiscal responsibility,” said the Sheriff, is what we must practice.

The four-step cleaning process is conducted inside of a decontamination chamber the size of a small dishwasher.  It dispenses a mist of vaporized hydrogen peroxide over the masks, eliminating 99.9% of all pathogens within a few hours, without removing any of its protective properties.  A system of conditioning, gassing, dwell time, and aeration give new life to used personal protective equipment, with water and oxygen as its only byproducts.

The process was vetted by numerous studies, cited by the Centers for Disease Control, and is in motion within Los Angeles County now.  It will take place around the clock and is expected to sanitize more than 30,000 masks per day.  The LASD will manage the program with our stakeholders and county partners, allowing front line workers across the board to reuse the same N95 mask up to 20 times.

Thousands of facemask haning on racks inside the decontamination center.

With prices for N95 masks fluctuating between $3.75 and $12.74 per piece, the economic impact of extending the value and life of our equipment, as opposed to additional purchasing, will certainly benefit all county agencies across the board, and ultimately save tens of millions of dollars.  Decontamination costs pennies on the dollar, as opposed to the cost of continuously replenishing stock.  For example, the cost of 250,000 masks at $3.75 per piece is $937,000; a $50,000 cost of putting them through 20 decontamination cycles makes their adjusted total purchase cost $987,5000.  In an estimation of five million masks needed to get us through the pandemic, the savings on decontamination versus purchasing five million more new pieces would lead to a $17,762,000 savings.  If the five million pieces went through 50 decontamination cycles, this would lead to a staggering $18,325,000 in savings.

The equipment used in the cleaning process was generously provided by the University of California-Los Angeles.  Their dedication to helping others was articulated in a statement:  “Just as others have supported UCLA’s front-line health care workers, UCLA is pleased to support the Sheriff’s Department in its important effort to establish a decontamination center for N95 masks used by first responders.  UCLA is honored to make available hydrogen peroxide fogging equipment used to clean many of our research labs now idled for safety reasons because of the pandemic. We are all in this together, helping our community in a time of need.  #TeamLA”

Sheriff Villanueva standing inside the center with staff among hanging masks.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said, “Our medical and public safety personnel place themselves in positions where the potential for catching COVID-19 is greater.  It is our role as public safety leaders to do everything we can to provide our personnel with the equipment they need to do their jobs.  This center will decontaminate masks around the clock.  It is our expectation the center will decontaminate over 30,000 masks per day, ensuring first responders have access to what they need to protect others.”

The Sheriff also addressed the decrease of crime in the county.  Violent crimes in general are down by 11%, criminal homicide by 24%, rape reporting by 33%, property crime by 9%, as well as calls for service.  There were three COVID -19-related arrests and 41 citations issued since Sunday, March 29, 2020.

Personnel, of course, are also part of the communities we serve and reflect the numbers of those physically affected by the COVID-19 crisis.  There were 167 sworn and 83 professional staff quarantined, 61 of whom tested positive for the affliction, and 754 who returned to work.

The inmate population is vulnerable to the daily movement and fluctuations within it, and it is under constant, protective supervision to preserve balance.  The quarantine of inmates is still taking place, always on the side of caution.  Whenever someone is identified as displaying symptoms, the entire dormitory is quarantined.  This may cause numbers to fluctuate, however, it is conducted simply as a preventative measure.  So far, 2,563 inmates were quarantined and 71 were isolated to prevent the perpetuation of disease further, among both population and staff.  Of the 123 who tested positive, 31 are fully recovered.

PRESS CONFERENCE: Sheriff Alex Villanueva Provides LASD Status Update in the Face of COVID-19. 04/27/2020

PRESS CONFERENCE: Sheriff Alex Villanueva Provides LASD Status Update in the Face of COVID-19.04/27/2020

Posted by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Monday, April 27, 2020