LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Sheriff Alex Villanueva has some dire warnings about public safety as Los Angeles County prepares for across-the-board budget cuts.
In a press conference Monday at the Hall of Justice, Villanueva said more than half of the county’s proposed layoffs will be from LASD, and of the 3,200 vacant positions to be eliminated county-wide, 1,525 will be from the Sheriff’s Department.
On Monday, the Board of Supervisors approved a $34.9 billion revised budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which includes 655 potential layoffs, roughly 70% of which will impact sheriff’s jail operations and 20% from the department that helps parents enforce child support orders.
The county’s top law enforcement official also pushed back on the proposed cuts, saying there are other “steadier sources” of funding that should be targeted for cuts instead of the LASD.
“The Board has the ability to fund all of the county government operations, and they need to prioritize public safety,” said Villanueva.
But he warned support of the defunding plan would result in the elimination of four investigative LASD bureaus, including the Special Victims Bureau, investigates physical abuse, sexual abuse and rape against women and children.
Three other detective bureaus would also be cut: Operation Safe Streets, which investigates gang-related crimes; Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau, which investigates crimes committed online and various forms of fraud, including identity theft, real estate fraud and wire fraud; and Major Crimes Bureau, which specializes in investigating kidnapping for ransom, illegal medical practices, extortion, and other crimes.
“It’s unconscionable,” said Villanueva. “These are the major detective units of the entire department. They serve the entire county of Los Angeles. Those four units…are the cream of the crop of investigative units throughout the entire nation, and as the largest county in the nation, I cannot see how we move forward without these four units,” he said.
County CEO Sachi Hamai said the reason the sheriff’s department is hardest hit is because public safety departments are funded primarily through local revenues, including property and sales taxes, rather
than federal and state dollars.
Patrol stations in Altadena and Marina del Rey will shut down starting Wednesday in order to save $12.2 million.
The cuts – which also potentially include hundreds of layoffs in the Child Support Services Department – are at the discretion of the county CEO and the Board of Supervisors.
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