LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – At a news conference Wednesday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva reported that homicides have increased by 94% over the past two years, and car thefts have increased by more than 50%, as well as talking about a number of other issues, which he said , affects the department. .
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Villanueva did not hold back when it came to criticizing his favorite targets, District Attorney George Gascón and the LA County Board of Supervisors.
It is his view that their actions or passivity have been the greatest obstacle he has had to overcome as sheriff.
“They have to turn off all virtue signals going on over there and start making tough decisions based on facts that will make society more secure,” Villanueva said.
The sheriff took the time to highlight some of his successes, such as cleaning up several homeless camps, such as the tents in Venice, and he noted that the volume of complaints has dropped significantly over the past year due to his body-bearing camera program.
“It works, the body-worn camera system works,” he said.
Perhaps the sheriff’s biggest gripe is his lack of overall staffing, which blames the supervisory board for a layoff. The department has 9,500 sworn employees, and ideally Villanueva would like to hire 800 more.
“They want to hire librarians. They want to hire officials in all the other county departments, but they do not want to allow us to hire deputy sheriffs,” he said.
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As for his thoughts on Gascón, Villanueva said the DA’s office is simply taking too long with deputy shooters involved. He also pointed to the glaring two-year increase in homicides for which he did not hold himself responsible.
“A lot of that is going to be reflected on who the district attorney is, policies that are being followed, zero-bail plan for example, Prop 47. There are a number of things that affect that number,” Villanueva said.
The sheriff also said he has an open door policy and that he is still willing to work with the current group of supervisors, although he said he hopes there will be a change with
the election in June.
Asked to comment on Villanueva’s press conference, Alex Bastian, Special Adviser to District Attorney George Gascón, said:
“Police accountability is a top priority for this district attorney. He is working to restore public belief in the criminal justice system by holding law-abiding law enforcement officers accountable for their crimes. In his first year, District Attorney Gascon’s administration filed criminal charges against 21 officers out of seven agencies, including five sheriff’s deputies, for workplace offenses. The public prosecutor also increased resources to investigate and prosecute police dishonesty. We take these cases very seriously and conduct a full and thorough review as soon as possible, based on the overall evidence. “
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