In an effort to save money, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced plans to close sheriff stations in Altadena and Marina del Rey.
Law enforcement duties of the two stations will be be picked up by the sheriff’s Crescenta Valley Station and South Los Angeles Station, respectively.
Villanueva told the Los Angeles Times that deputies will still patrol those communities. However, a captain, field training officer and administrative positions will be eliminated.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, one who frequently supports the often controversial sheriff, told Pasadena Now that Villanueva had other ways to balance his budget.
“The chief executive office has provided the Sheriff’s Department with guidance and suggestions for appropriate budget cuts that would not impact public safety or community service, such as limited overtime and scaling back academy classes,” Barger told the online news magazine.
“I am disappointed that instead of more sensible adjustments, he is responding by eliminating sheriff’s stations, including in Altadena, an unincorporated area that I represent,”Barger said.
The two stations will be closed July 1, the first day of the next fiscal year.
“Due to the fact the Board of Supervisors and chief executive officer have intentionally failed to provide a budget which meets the true needs of the department, we are forced to make deep cuts in order to continue providing the basic functions of public safety to our communities,” Villanueva said in a memo obtained by the LA Times.
Leaders of the two unions that represent Sheriff’s Department personnel said they learned of the cuts Monday.
With the county’s jail population down by 5,000 inmates, the supervisors urged Villanueva to balance the department’s $3.5 billion budget by cutting staff and overtime, according to the Times.
“Since last year, the Sheriff’s Department has run a substantial deficit that the county is unable to maintain. These considerable fiscal issues, led predominantly by overtime costs and legal settlements, have become even more pronounced given the financial challenges we are experiencing during COVID-19,” Barger told Pasadena Now.
According to the Times, Villanueva said he would save $12 million with closure of the stations, which he said could remain open in some capacity.