After the CEO of Los Angeles County, Sachi Hamai, announced a proposed budget that would cut roughly $145.4 million for police and jettison six units from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva blasted her, asserting, “The CEO and the Board have embraced the ‘Defund the Police’ movement and are cynically hiding behind accounting maneuvers.”
Villanueva stated, “The budget cuts are targeted specifically to hurt public safety while sparing virtually every other function of county government from any reductions. 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. Now is not the time to cut vital law enforcement services, that should be the last thing cut,” as Fox News noted.
He added, “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. 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.”
The proposed budget would eliminate the Safe Streets Bureau (Gang Enforcement). Parks Bureau, Special Victims Bureau (Sexual/Physical Abuse of Children, Rape, Human Trafficking), and Community Partnership Bureau (COPS Team)
Rani Mankarious, CEO of Crime Stoppers of Houston, expressed her anger at the proposed changes in Los Angeles this way:
The drastic move by local elected officials to appease this movement so quickly is premature and will backfire. We all agreed police reform was needed, but the step to defund police at this level is a con on every level. Reforming police in actuality means better training, investing in recruits, changes in police practices, and maintaining good officers. In theory, this would or could require an increase in funding for local police departments.
She added, “It’s wrong on every level, and elected officials in these cities have put down the call to very difficult work in exchange for appealing the voices they are afraid of. Change can and must happen – we have all agreed – but this massive punitive approach is sowing a storm whose effects should concern all.”
Tony Schiena, chairman of the MOSAIC private security group, echoed, “What happens when Al Qaeda, ISIS, or other groups, the general public haven’t even heard of decide to plan another attack? What about white supremacist groups that have been and are a serious threat to national security, now more than ever, decide to go operational with their skilled members in various parts of the U.S.? Fewer boots on the ground with decreased abilities will have catastrophic repercussions.”
Hamai was supposed to retire on March 31, but postponed that. “Hamai’s decision comes as the board is expected to grant her additional power in coordinating the county’s emergency operations — a job currently held by Sheriff Alex Villanueva — and in cutting through red tape,” the Antelope Valley Times reported on March 30.
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