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sheriffs-statement

DEFUNDING THE LASD BUDGET 145.4M Dollars 680 380 SIB Staff

DEFUNDING THE LASD BUDGET 145.4M Dollars

DEFUNDING THE LASD BUDGET $145.4M

The budget cuts announced by county CEO Sachi Hamai are targeted specifically to hurt public safety in
Los Angeles County, while sparing virtually every other function of county government from any reductions.
The CEO’s recommended budget for the LASD from May was $3.5 billion, a shortfall of $400 million from
the true cost of running the largest sheriff’s department in the nation. As we have been busy reorganizing
around the first massive reduction, the Board of Supervisors are now set to force the community to suffer a
major loss of law enforcement resources with a second round of cuts to the tune of $145.4 million. This is
literally balancing the entire county budget on the back of the LASD.

Half of the LASD’s budget is offset by revenue from contracts that provide law enforcement services to 42
contract cities, the Los Angeles Superior Court system, the Los Angeles Community College District, the
Metropolitan Transit Authority, and other contracts. The other half is what is known as “Net County Cost” or
NCC, and that is the cost of providing patrol to the 131 unincorporated communities throughout the county,
running the nation’s largest jail system, and the specialized detective units who serve the entire county such
as Homicide Bureau, Special Victim’s Bureau, Major Crimes Bureau, Safe Streets Bureau, and Fraud and
Cyber Crimes Bureau.

The CEO’s proposed budget recommends the following LASD units be eliminated:

• Safe Streets Bureau (Gang Enforcement)
• Parks Bureau
• Special Victims Bureau (Sexual/Physical Abuse of Children, Rape, Human Trafficking)
• Community Partnership Bureau (COPS Team)
• Fraud & Cybercrimes Bureau
• Major Crimes Bureau

The CEO also recommends drastically reducing the following units:

• Custody Operations (various units)
• Mental Health Evaluation Teams (MET)

The CEO and the Board have embraced the “Defund the Police” movement and are cynically hiding behind
accounting maneuvers, knowing well that loss of revenue in sales tax can be made up by equitably
distributing more stable revenue streams like property taxes. This is not acceptable and a willful
abandonment of one of the top priorities of all local government: keeping people safe.

These cuts come at a time when jails were de-populated of over five thousand inmates in order to combat
the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that restrictions are lifting, violent crimes, such as murder, are on the rise
across the County and other metropolitan areas such as New York City and Chicago. Now is not the time to
cut vital law enforcement services, that should be the last thing cut. Curiously, the bloated county
bureaucracy remains virtually intact, which should always be the first to suffer reductions. The priorities of
the Board of Supervisors are not the priorities of the good people of Los Angeles County.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva

Graphic of Sheriff Villanueva next to Hall Of Justice
SB 1421 Compliance 1024 249 SIB Staff

SB 1421 Compliance

SB 1421 Compliance

Under my leadership, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is more transparent than ever before. With greater transparency comes greater accountability. One area this has been demonstrated is our cooperation with the Citizen Oversight Commission (COC) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

In anticipation of the colossal amount of requests for records prior to the bills enactment on January 1, 2019, we requested funding from the Board of Supervisors for additional personnel and computer software to address the added workload created by the SB 1421 mandate. To date, our requests have been ignored.

In November 2019, I reorganized the Audit and Accountability Bureau (AAB), on a temporary basis, in order to dedicate resources to the SB 1421 project. We also implemented a tracking system specifically for COC and OIG requests, to ensure a timely response.

In the calendar year of 2019, the Department responded to 43 known requests from the COC and OIG. From January 1, 2020 to May 1, 2020, the Department has responded to 59 of the 62 requests made by the COC and OIG.

Since November 2019, AAB has received a total of 2,848 requests for review. As of June 11, 2020, AAB has responded to 75% of the requests.

The true goals and values of government can be found in how the budget is allocated. If something is deemed important, the Board of Supervisors has the responsibility and obligation to fully fund it. Due to our limited staffing and our lack of SB 1421 specified funding, the fulfillment of SB 1421 compliance has been difficult. We will continue to do the best we can with what we have in place.

Please visit LASD.org to explore my transparency promise.

Graphic of Sheriff Villanueva next to Hall Of Justice
Sheriff addresses Social Media videos 1024 249 SIB Staff

Sheriff addresses Social Media videos

SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEOSJune 3, 2020

I am aware of two videos circulating on social media involving my deputies. As with all use of force incidents, these cases will be thoroughly investigated, and we will also examine the tactics, policies & procedures.

As I have stated before, this is another example of why we so desperately need the Board of Supervisors to fully fund the LASD body-worn camera project.  The public deserves full transparency.

Graphic of Sheriff Villanueva next to Hall Of Justice
Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s Message to the Troops 1024 249 SIB Staff

Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s Message to the Troops

Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s Message to the Troops

This is Sheriff Villanueva. We have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all residents and businesses in Los Angeles County. As incidents of looting are reported anywhere in our county, we will respond and assist local police departments. We will also take proactive action and deploy anywhere in the county where violence is taking afoot, protect lawfully assembled protesters, and use your discretion in enforcing the law where needed.

Be safe out there, Car-1 signing off.

Sheriff Composing a message to the troops on a computer
Sheriff composing a message to the troops from the ops center.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva behind a microphone
Sheriff Villanueva Addresses the Board of Supervisors 01/28/20 701 303 SIB Staff

Sheriff Villanueva Addresses the Board of Supervisors 01/28/20

SHERIFF VILLANUEVA ADDRESSES THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, JANUARY 28, 2020

On Tuesday, January 28, 2020, Sheriff Alex Villanueva spoke at the Board of Supervisor’s Meeting to inform the Board and attendees about the directive he has given to the Department to continue building trust with the community, a directive on data transparency. Sheriff Villanueva reminded those present that he campaigned on a promise of transparency, and the Department is taking steps to deliver his promise.

Sheriff Villanueva added everything not legally restricted will be made available on the Department’s website, LASD.org, including information regarding deputy-involved shootings, Department reports, videos of incidents, as well as other types of documentation. Information protected by law, which includes personnel records, ongoing criminal and administrative investigations, victims, and witnesses of particular crimes such as sexually related crimes, domestic violence crimes, will remain private and offline.     

Sheriff Villanueva pointed out that although this process will be labor and time-intensive, it has already started, and people can visit LASD.org and begin to see the data being released. He added he looks forward to working the Board of Supervisors to secure funding for the servers and other infrastructure needed to accomplish this step toward transparency.

Sheriff Villanueva further stated he firmly believes transparency will build trust within the communities the Sheriff’s Department serves.

Downloadable Material: Talking Points and Slides

Sheriff Villanueva speaking to a man and woman in an alley
HOMELESS COUNT 2020 1024 576 SIB Staff

HOMELESS COUNT 2020

Homeless Count 2020

Law enforcement personnel are often the first contact with those experiencing homelessness.  For that reason LASD HOST was created to exemplify the county’s efforts to combat homelessness and preserve public safety.  HOST’s mission is to positively impact the homeless crisis in the county while increasing public safety and preserving the rights and dignity of persons experiencing homelessness. 

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said “Over the past three evenings, LASD personnel escorted volunteers throughout the county of for Homeless Count 2020. Homelessness is a complex issue for the County. These residents struggle with poverty, some struggle with mental illness. Unfortunately, our younger adults are more vulnerable. Young People who lack stable housing are at a higher risk of being trafficked and more likely to experience substance use and depression.

By conducting these counts with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, and forming collaborations with service providers, LASD’s Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) continues to assist those experiencing homelessness throughout the County. Los Angeles County has established subsidies to support our most vulnerable residents, and it has proven affordable and effective. The County is redoubling efforts to combat this issue, and as part of the county family, the Sheriff’s Department is as well.

 It is my goal to increase the number of Department personnel assigned to the LASD’ HOST three-fold to help people get on their feet and off the streets. By providing compassion and access to services, we can help those in need and keep them out of our jail system.”

Through our contacts with thousands of homeless neighbors, HOST has earned a reputation for being compassionate, accountable, innovative, and bold.  HOST has transcended the role of traditional law enforcement.  For years, HOST has accomplished the mission with zero uses of force.    

Video courtesy of KTLA 5.

Sheriff Villanueva walked with volunteers in the city of East Los Angeles to see the growing homeless crises and in need of shelter.Video courtesy of KTLA 5 News:

Posted by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Thursday, January 23, 2020
Graphic of Sheriff Villanueva next to Hall Of Justice
Sheriff’s RESPONSE TO LA TIMES 1024 249 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

Graphic of Sheriff Villanueva next to Hall Of Justice
Statement: Middle East Threat 1/03/20 1024 249 SIB Staff

Statement: Middle East Threat 1/03/20

STATEMENT: MIDDLE EAST THREAT 1/03/20

Nearly every nationality in the world can be found in the County of Los Angeles. Keeping all residents and visitors safe is always a top priority. We at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are aware of the unfolding events in the Middle East.

At this time, there are no specific credible threats to the Los Angeles area.  Our Sheriff’s Intelligence Unit is working with our local, state, and federal partners to monitor and investigate any potential threats should they arise. 

Your Sheriff’s Department has thousands of uniformed deputies on-duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week, protecting the varying communities we serve throughout the county. We are ready to respond to any threat.

However, we could always use information. I ask all of you to remain vigilant and report any information about potential incidents to your local law enforcement.  If you wish to remain anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), using your smartphone by downloading the “P3 MOBILE APP” on Google play or the App Store, or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org

As always, if you see something of an emergent nature, please call 9-1-1.