Los Angeles News

LA sheriff's department patrol services cut due to cash crunch

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

An independent audit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's budget has been ordered after it was revealed the department cut patrol services in some areas. Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina is concerned about the recent change and is now suggesting hiring private security.

The suggestion comes after Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said he cut back on patrols in some communities to avoid suspending overtime.

According to Molina, the department is compromising safety in areas near South and East Whittier where patrols were cut from 12 cars per day to six.

Molina is accusing Sheriff Lee Baca of "(pulling) the rug out ... from under unincorporated areas." She is suggesting that security patrol services be hired to fill in where sheriff's patrol cars were cut.

The sheriff's department is responsible for providing patrol services in unincorporated areas, while 42 cities and other agencies pay the county for patrol services. The patrol budget represents 17.6 percent of the department's total $2.69 billion budget.

Baca said the overtime cut was necessary to close his department's budget gap. He couldn't "realistically" make the overall cuts demanded by the board last year without cutting services.

"You cannot ask me to continue to provide the same amount of services with less money," Baca said. He defends the move given the crime rate is at its lowest in 40 years.

The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors says that money has been allocated to ensure that residents in unincorporated areas receive the same level of services as those in cities that contract for law enforcement.

The board voted to hire an independent firm to conduct a forensic audit of the sheriff's department budget.

CNS contributed to this report.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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los angeles county sheriff's department, los angeles news, melissa macbride
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