Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission Votes to Subpoena Villanueva

Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission Votes to Subpoena Villanueva

first_img Subscribe Using its power granted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission unanimously voted on Thursday to issue a subpoena to compel Sheriff Alex Villanueva to appear before the commission at its next meeting.Despite an invitation to attend, Villanueva did not attend Thursday’s virtual meeting of the Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission.Local residents hoped the sheriff would appear and provide some clarity on his decision to close the Altadena substation.Villanueva announced earlier this week that the substation along with the station in Marina Del Rey would be shuttered on July 1.Altadena will be patrolled deputies from Crescenta Valley.On Thursday, Assemblyman Chris Holden who represents the area said he opposes the decision.“With a population of more than 42,000 residents, Altadenans are deserving of their own station,” Holden said in a prepared statement. “Its closure removes a key resource from the entire area needed to minimize criminal activity.”Holden said there is concern about a reduction in the level of services and response time to deploy Sheriffs from the Crescenta Valley station, and the need to rely on the California Highway Patrol.“This closure also diminishes the partnership between the Pasadena Police Department and their collaborative effort to effectively address gang violence and its criminal activity. There needs to be information provided on the plans underway to ensure the safety of residents and to maintain the level of service,” Holden wrote.Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a written statement she is continuing to work with the county’s Chief Executive Officer to further identify more appropriate areas for budget mitigation efforts for the Sheriff’s Department.According to Barger, the supervisors were not consulted on Sheriff Villanueva’s decision and do not have the details of his proposed cuts.“In addition, I was disheartened to learn that Sheriff Villanueva declined the request by the Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission to attend this morning’s meeting to discuss his proposed cuts, including the closure of the Altadena station. This was a missed opportunity to share critical information with the Commission and dialogue with the community which these cuts impact the most,” Barger wrote.According to Barger, Villanueva could have used the meeting to clarify misinformation that is being disseminated regarding the Sheriff’s deficit.According to Barger, the total budget of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is $3.5 billion. However, the department’s projected deficit — the total he is anticipated to overspend by — for this fiscal year is $89 million.Sheriff Villanueva’s assertion that his Department is underfunded by $400 million is unfounded and has not been validated by those entrusted with balancing the County’s total budget.Before the subpoena was issued Altadena resident Rene Amy said he was disappointed by the lack of effective and open leadership demonstrated by Sheriff Villanueva.“More and more, this whole thing seems like Altadena has become a pawn in a political battle of wills, and that’s really sad,” said Amy who planned to participate in Thursday’s meeting.The first-term sheriff is locked in a battle with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors over the department’s budget.Last week the two sides traded not-so veiled threats as they sparred over the department’s $3.5 billion budget.According to supervisors, the county’s jail population has decreased by 5,000 inmates, yet Villanueva has not decreased the staffing in the county’s jails.Supervisors also want Villanueva to further cut overtime.Council for the county pointed out Villanueva could be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to balance the budget. Villanueva said he could list crimes by public officials and the consequences of those actions.The supervisors and the sheriff are elected.This is not their first conflict. In April, the LA County Supervisors voted to remove Sheriff Villanueva as head of emergency ops amid coronavirus crisis.The move came after a critical report on the communications efforts by county departments during the 2018 Woolsey Fire.“If you’re asking the public to stay home, cooperate with authorities, the same applies to the Board of Supervisors,” the sheriff said after being removed. “They need to remain focused on this united front against the spread of the coronavirus so that together we can save lives.”Villanueva was elected in 2018 when he beat incumbent Jim McDonnell, becoming the first outsider to lead the department in a century. He soon came under fire for critics for hiring deputies formerly fired.“In the last few days, I have heard from many of you concerning the closure of the Altadena station; as mentioned, I share in your frustration,” said LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. Top of the News More Cool Stuff Your email address will not be published. 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