UpClose: Lt. Bill Moulder, West Hollywood Sheriff Dept. Part 2

Lieutenant Bill Moulder, it is my pleasure to be with you once again. The idea behind these interviews is to bring he community and the WeHo sheriff closer together. Let’s start with something Captain Ramirez pointed out with the shortage of the entertainment police team. Is there a plan to get those entertainment cops back to full throttle?

Yes, we hope that when the city is in a better financial position that those two spots — the Sergeant and the Deputy for the Entertainment Policing Team — will be reinstated. The EPT does a fantastic job of keeping our nightlife community safe. That’s their objective and they also have really good relationships with the different nightlife businesses — management and security — and interact with them often. All in the effort to keep our nightlife community here in West Hollywood safe. So we certainly would hope that when the city is in a better financial position that those items would be restored.

So there are four people on the team?

Currently, four people on the team. And then no sergeant, so with the cops team, including myself, we all work together as one big team. But the two teams — cops and entertainment policing — have different hours and they have kind of different focuses. But it would be great to have both of those positions back. They are boots on the ground. The entertainment policing team will get out and walk around the area or they’ll be in cars, and we are actually having our bikes serviced and we’re going to put four bikes. But we rotate cars. On foot, hopefully soon, on bikes and keep our patrol a little bit different in how we manage.

Is there a general operating procedure to deal with the homeless?

So with our teams, our cops team, our entertainment policing team, when we conduct operations or on their regular duties, we have a care outreach program. We talk about the additional assist resources, and as we talked earlier through the City of West Hollywood, through their social services, they have a great program and a lot of great resources. When our deputies contact somebody who’s experiencing homelessness we can offer those resources to that person if they want to get off the street. If they you want a place to get clothing or a shower, whatever the need, and whatever position they’re in to accept that help, we have those resources and can connect them with that. So that’s always our main objective: to get them help get them and off the street. But unfortunately the vast majority of people refuse the help and don’t want the help for a variety of reasons. A lot of the unhoused people have been in our community a long time and our deputies know them. They always continue to reach out hoping one day that they’ll accept help, and sometimes they do.

Do you think that adding the homeless shelter at the Metro as proposed will increase the needs and calls to the sheriff’s department?

I don’t know. It depends on how it’s set up and managed and if they have security and if maybe they assign someone from the Sheriff’s Department. It all it all depends on how the program is set up.

Did the council discuss the needs with the Sheriff prior to proposing that item or did you find out when the agenda as the agenda item was coming up?

We heard about it as that agenda item was coming up, but you know we have a wonderful relationship with the city. We have a wonderful relationship with the Public Safety Director Kristin Cook. Kristen, Captain Ramirez and I talk often, every day via phone calls or texts or emails and discuss a lot of these issues and what we can do to improve what we do and how we bring service to our community. In this case, in terms of what we do to bring service to our unhoused community, we’re always willing to try different things, different pilot programs and see what works .

Let’s move on to some diversity issues? Do you know how many men versus women in the force?

I don’t know off the top of my head can get you those statistics if you would like.

Lt. Moulder followed up with the following stats: The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sworn member breakdown is – Female 1,829 and Male 7,926.

West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station sworn member breakdown is: Female 28 and Male 115.

What about gay versus straight is there a quotient for that or not really it’s a privacy issue?

We don’t. I don’t think this the department has a statistic on that. But, you know, we have a lot of people in our department that are from the LGBTQ community.

Are you familiar with any transgendered officers?

Some years ago we had one of our pilots on our department who was a transgender female, and absolutely we have members of the transgender community in our department.

Is there an average number of calls received here every day?

Yes, every month during the Public Safety Commission we provide information about the previous month and the amount of calls we received as opposed to the amount of calls we received the previous a year ago the same month. They are published on the City of West Hollywood Public Safety Commission website. You can see information for our monthly statistics. I don’t have them in front of me but I want to say last month 1,500 to 1,700 calls for service.

Have those calls increased now that the city’s back open? Has the amount of workload increased now that everybody’s getting back to the city?

Yeah so you know during the COVID time, certainly our number of calls dipped but yes as we’ve reopened now things are coming back up. As you know last as I stated at all the Public Safety Commissions when we’re talking about crime in West Hollywood last year West Hollywood enjoyed the lowest part one crime in their history. March and April they had the lowest number of part one crimes in the history of the station. Leading into 2020 prior to COVID we were trending almost 30 percent down in part one crimes when compared to the same time beginning of the year to 2019. So under Captain Ramirez’s leadership and the hard work of all our deputies here at the station working patrol, working detectives, working cops, working entertainment policing, all of that started our crime or part one crime rate which all the most serious like almost 30 percent. Then we got into COVID and that crime rate really dropped. So we’re going back up but we’re going back up from our lowest. Last month we had 130, versus 438 part one crimes for the previous September. Our averages prior to COVID were 180 to 220 part one crimes a month so that’s still remarkably lower than what we had prior to the pandemic. We were already trending down.

Well, there seems to be more serious stabbings and gunshots and helicopters more often to me. Do you feel that there’s a greater intensity in the the crime or more bigger challenges?

Now if you look at like I said the part one crimes they’re all down from what they used to be. But what’s most important is how people feel and people are feeling not safe or feeling things are happening more than they used to. That’s a concern but the crime rates aren’t showing that in terms of part one crimes. As we talked about before in terms of the homeless population and transients we are certainly seeing more and newer people in our area and that is a concern.

Is there a general rule how we plan overtime?

We have overtime in a couple different ways. When we have people that are off whether they’re off if they’re sick or if injured on duty or whatever reason they’re off the department gives us overtime money for patrol. We make sure we make the minutes. The City of West Hollywood contracts for a certain amount of minutes. They don’t contract for an actual deputy. They contract for minutes. This is how it works. So we make sure that they get the minutes that they’ve contracted for. We also have supplemental overtime money for the foot beats on the east-end, foot beats on the west-end of town. We have a a grant from the state through the city that pays for additional deputies for security at the parks. And we do special operations like last night, we did a special operation with both of our teams focusing on pickpocketing. Whatever issue, if we see robberies are up, then we focus on that, and sometimes that’s paid with the overtime.

Are there any plans that you know for electric cars in the fleet?

So you know right now I don’t know if there are but some years ago, we’re probably talking eight to ten years ago, we did a little pilot project with BMW and they provided some electric or mixed use vehicles, but I’m not sure where we are in that. I can check with our fleet folks to see.

I thought we would take a quick look back at the COVID epidemic and the riots a year ago. West Hollywood performed beautifully. We stayed mostly safe, the big barriers, the dumpsters were moved on to Santa Monica Boulevard and we were made it through it pretty well. Who deserves that credit?

The captain and the entire station deserve credit. Captain Ramirez has excellent leadership and he is always forethought into what we do and creativity and so you know we all work as a big team here. You know the most important thing throughout that time was to make sure people here in West Hollywood are safe. People that live here, people that work here, people that own businesses here, people that have come here.

People that are coming here to protest … West Hollywood is built on being a progressive and forward-thinking city and people feel comfortable here to come and be who they are. And to come and protest here. So we wanted to make sure people that were coming here to protest were safe and all our people that live, work and play here are safe and that we maintain the ability for people to exercise their First Amendment rights. That’s our job but our job is to protect everybody here. And those that come here and engage in criminal activity looking at this as some opportunity — we won’t let that won’t happen here and we’ll take every step we can to stop that from happening. Our city was safe and as you referenced the roll-off bins, the big dumpsters, we started placing around the city. We did close off certain avenues in the city to make it harder if people wanted to drive in and start looting. We wanted to take every measure we can to keep everybody safe and allow everybody’s exercise of their constitutional rights. But we’re not going to stand for anybody coming in here to commit crimes against our people or our property.

So Ramirez called that shot with with the help of former city manager Paul Arevalo?

We had to coordinate right so again like i was mentioning earlier we have a wonderful wonderful relationship with the city, the city council, city staff, city manager, public safety director. We have constant dialogue and we bring ideas and they have the trust in us and the understanding that we have the training and the experience and the ability and work really well together as a team. So it’s really like I said all the team effort not only was just the station but with the City.

I would just like to thank you again for your time. Thank you for the hard work and keeping us all as safe. Thank you for putting your lives on the line so many days and so many nights and I appreciate your open candor.

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[…] UpClose: Lt. Bill Moulder, West Hollywood Sheriff Dept. Part 2 […]

Christopher Reed
Christopher Reed
1 year ago

Bill Moulder is an amazing man. You’re lucky to have him as your captain.

Christopher Reed

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