WeHo to Consider a Study of Sheriff’s Station Organization and Operation

WeHo Sheriff's Station
Faced with publicity about recent crimes in the city’s Boystown nightlife area, complaints about growing crime on the city’s Eastside and poor customer service by the local Sheriff’s Station, the City of West Hollywood will consider engaging outside consultants to help study the station’s organization and operation.

The study is proposed by Council members Lauren Meister and John D’Amico. It would involve staff of the city’s Public Safety Department working with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s Contract Law Division and external consultants. West Hollywood does not have its own police force but contracts with the county Sheriff’s Department for police services, paying almost $18 million a year.

The study also would include a look at the Block by Block Ambassador program in which the city contracts with SMS Holdings to provide public safety staff on bicycles around Santa Monica Boulevard who alert Sheriff’s deputies to crimes and advise local residents on public safety issues.

In a memo to the City Council, which will consider the proposal at its meeting tonight, D’Amico and Meister said: “The goal of the assessment is to ensure that the Sheriff’s Department has the necessary support from the City, but also utilizes resources and delivers service in the most efficient and effective way possible to meet the public safety needs of the community.”

The Sheriff’s Station has made changes in its staffing in recent months in response to high-profile crimes. Perhaps the most controversial of those crimes was the assault on Memorial Day weekend of Kirk Doffing, a West Hollywood resident, by a group of men in the city’s Boystown nightlife area. After being punched by one of those men, Doffing fell to the ground, sustaining a fracture to his skull from which he has yet to fully recover. Local residents responded by demanding more foot patrols by the Sheriff’s Station, almost all of whose officers cruise the small and densely populated city in patrol cars rather than on foot. In response, the Sheriff’s station announced that it was adding an additional two-person foot patrol to the one it previously had. However the station’s Lt. David Smith has conceded that the station can’t always find officers willing to work overtime to staff those two foot patrols.

Reports of an increase in homeless people on the city’s Eastside, along with growth in nightlife along Santa Monica Boulevard on the east and an increasing younger population, have led residents of that area to also demand a greater police presence.

There also have been complaints by residents that Sheriff’s deputies have seemed uninterested in complaints they try to make about crimes. Several residents made those complaints at “Coffee with the Captain,” a public forum hosted last month by Mayor Lindsey Horvath with local residents, station Capt. Gary Honings and Lt. Smith. .

“There’s a disconnect between what you’re telling your deputies and how they treat us, because when we call, we’re the problem,” said a tenant of an apartment building on the Eastside who had complained about homeless people. “I called about suspicious behavior and a possible breaking-and-entering, and I got a lecture on the socio-economic plight of homelessness.”

The Meister / D’Amico proposal also notes that city staffers are working with Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz & Associates to prepare a “citizens’ report card” that will assess residents’ overall satisfaction with public safety-related services. “This survey may include a random telephone survey, stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and/or a community meeting. The results will inform the City regarding community perception of the quality of public safety related services,” the proposal says.

At least one member of the city’s Public Safety Commission and WEHOville have raised questions about the validity of such a survey given the fact that the city’s large population of young people is relatively transient; is more likely to rely solely on a cell phone, sometimes with a distant area code, than a landline that a surveyor can call, and is relatively unengaged in civic life, as reflected in the city’s very low voter turnout. In addition, many of those affected by nightlife crimes are visitors to West Hollywood rather than local residents.

The Council meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Free parking, with a ticket validated at the Council chambers, is available in the five-story structure off El Tovar Place.

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Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
7 years ago

I think – HOPE there is a JOINT realization and agreement to have a ‘no-fault’ (nobody is going to get blamed for the current system that is not working for the Sheriff’s Department and the needs of the City is this current time/age and situation. If it becomes an investigation of WHO is doing things wrong at the Weho Sheriff’s Station/Dept, there will never be a successful restructuring. If both the City Council and the Sheriff’s Department Work to Make THE CITY SAFER, The OFFICERS (on patrol and the officers and staff who work in the station) WORK BETTER AND… Read more »

fine7760
7 years ago

Jonathan Simmons Your endless rambling is nothing more than rambling. We don’t have our own Police Department because it would be to expensive to man and maintain. The services rendered by the Sheriffs Department goes beyond the uniformed deputies on the street. And those services would require a facility about three times as large as the current Sheriffs Station. You should really research the facts of the matter before make accusations. I believe Tanaka was indicted concerning the treatment of prisoners at the county Jail. You claim the deputies are unfriendly and never talk with those on the street. That’s… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
7 years ago

SE – not sure working other than 9-5 MF constitutes over time in police and fire work – someone can confirm, but I believe that overtime only comes into play when over a set amount of hours per day or week.

Seniority may come into play for shift choices, but again my guess – someone who knows should point out – is that deputies work on the shifts they are assigned, and if the LASD/WeHo wants to redeploy to non weekday daytime hours, they can do so.

SE
SE
7 years ago

My concern is that the police department is understaffed on the evenings that the city’s population soars due to the nightlife. The size of police staff needs to correspond to the increased population Thursday-Sunday so that officers aren’t asked to work overtime to meet the demand. And while it’s unfair to perhaps EXPECT officer to WANT to work overtime, I’m wondering what the true aversion is by West Hollywood police officers. What do they know that we do not that makes them turn extra money down when police officers are typically looking to make extra money?

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
7 years ago

IF I EVER WERE TO GO TO THIS PUBLIC MEETING OR ANY OTHER USELESS BORING City DIsplays …. In theory, I WOULD STAND UP AND VERBALLY PUBLICLY SAME MEISTER AND D’AMICO for each slight appearance that they have seen a problem and are acting on it. A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT no more. Today 40 years old is now 30. P A size 2 is now a size zero. AND A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT is AT LEAST 10 YEARS AND TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS SHORT IN DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THE INEFFECTIVENESS OF THE ENTIRE… Read more »

Joanne
Joanne
7 years ago

Wow are you serious. I have lived all over Los Angeles and imo West Hollywood is one of the most heavily patrolled cities I have ever seen. You need to wake up and look around and see how luck we have it. Look at Highland and Sunset at LA Brea, as soon as you cross the city limits it turns to hell, with homeless and sketchy looking people everywhere. Speaking if Homeless, it’s not the police responsibility they aren’t welfare; you don’t go to jail for tresspassing, and they are not real estate agents trying to kiss our butts; they… Read more »

Flores St.
Flores St.
7 years ago

I think the claim that deputies do not want to work overtime is very suspicious. Civil servants like the police live for overtime.

Nir Zilberman
Nir Zilberman
7 years ago

READ MY LIPS…STOP ALREADY!
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Before you looking at WHAT’S HAPPENING in our amazing SHERIFF DEPT,
TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT THE CORRUPTION IN OUR CITY HALL AND THE MONEY we SPEND on LAWSUITS against our city.

Or even more, start taking care of our biggest problems in our city DRUGS, ALCOHOL and what you do to stop it, so far you help to promote it.

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