Altadena Station to Stay Open

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Board) unanimously voted to direct the LA County Sheriff to immediately cease efforts to close the Altadena and Marina del Rey stations.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced during a May 4 briefing that due to a $400 million budget gap he would be closing the Altadena and Marina del Rey stations. In addition there would be the elimination of other “unfunded full-time patrol positions including youth activities league, school resource deputy, vital intervention and directional alternatives, nuisance abatement, community relations team and search and rescue coordinator.”

There were other adjustments to staff and programs announced as well.

The closures of the two stations were met with concern from local communities as well as the Board of Supervisors.

“These closures were announced without any independent vetting or validation by the County’s Chief Executive Office, or advance notice or input to impacted communities,” stated the Board of Supervisors in a release.

The motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Kathryn Barger also directs the sheriff, in consultation with the chief executive officer (CEO) and auditor-controller, to identify appropriate budget curtailments that are properly vetted and will have limited impact on public safety.

“These station closures were announced without any vetting or advance notice, validation of cost savings, or assessment of impact on public safety. As a result, our communities are rightly concerned – as is this Board,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “The Sheriff’s Department must achieve the necessary cost savings and budget curtailments needed to address the Department’s deficit and the County’s revenue shortfall in a more transparent, collaborative and democratic way without jeopardizing service to our communities.”

“The public safety and security of our communities is critically important, now more than ever, given the public health crisis created by COVID-19,” said Supervisor Barger. “I am hopeful that through today’s Board action, the sheriff will work with the County Chief Executive Office to identify more appropriate budget measures that will not impact our local communities, including Altadena, an unincorporated region that has relied on their sheriff’s station for years. I remain committed to ensuring that the Sheriff’s Department maintains its core mission of public safety and meets the essential needs of residents and businesses throughout Los Angeles County.”

Since these announcements, a range of constituents and the Civilian Oversight Commission tasked with overseeing the Sheriff’s Department have expressed deep concern about the station closures and the negative impacts that they may have on community safety and service delivery.

This motion seeks to avoid unnecessary and unanticipated negative impact to services and programs that enhance public safety as the Board works to finalize the County’s FY 2020-21 budget, as well as ensure that these decisions are made in a transparent, collaborative and democratic way.

For now it appears the stations will remain open and the other options set forth by the sheriff will be examined. In his briefing on Wednesday, Villanueva offered to meet with the Board of Supervisors to discuss the budget.

Written by Mary O’KEEFE