Sheriff kicks off Community Academy

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department kicked off its Community Academy this week with a riveting presentation by Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Tatami.

Hatami is known for his work prosecuting the parents of Gabriel Fernandez, the 8-year-old Palmdale boy who was tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend in the mid 2010s.. He spoke about the ways the D.A.’s office works with the Sheriff’s Department, as well his own traumatic youth.

As a child, Hatami and his brother were taken by their mother as she fled her abusive relationship with her father. They relocated to California and hid out from the law for eight years before the boys were recognized from a missing child ad in the Ladies Home Journal. 

The ensuing custody case led Hatami to his career as a D.A. who fights for justice for children. Hatami spoke critically of his boss, District Attorney George Gascon, assailing him for removing the enhancements that increased penalties for particularly violent or egregious offenses, and he critiqued the zero bail initiatives.

He had few kind words for the defund-the-police movement, and was baffled by West Hollywood’s plan to put more unarmed security ambassadors in the path of armed and dangerous criminals. 

While he was generally supportive of Sheriff Alex Villanueva, he said the optics of Villanueva’s investigation of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl were less than ideal, even though he thinks she likely committed a crime.

The Academy continues next week with a more hands-on course of activities, including patrol operations, K-9 units, SWAT, crime scene investigations, mental health evaluations, and other topics. It’s the first time the department has held the classes in more than a decade in hopes of familiarizing WeHo’s citizens with the work they do as the contracted law enforcement body in charge of public safety in the city. 

Mayor Lauren Meister was in attendance at this week’s workshop, as were Capt. Bill Moulder, WeHo Community Safety Director Danny Rivas, City Manager David Wilson and a number of deputies. While enrollment for the Academy is currently closed, the department is planning to host another set of workshops in the near future.

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About Brandon Garcia
Brandon Garcia is editor of WEHOville. He oversees the website's editorial direction and creates original content such as news reports, photo and video features, digital art work and advertisements. A native of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, he now lives in WeHo and is a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community. @brandoninthebubble on Instagram

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Michael Dolan
Michael Dolan
1 month ago

Hoping when the Academy starts up again it will soon be under the active participation of Sheriff-elect, Robert Luna.

carleton cronin
1 month ago

Expected a horde of citizens for this. How disappointing.

Complaint Department
Complaint Department
1 month ago

Illustrates how so many of the complainers are not interested in being part of a solution.🙄

Eric
Eric
1 month ago

Really amazing that they are doing this. Hope that they can continue to offer this with a possible week end time frame.

Manny
Manny
1 month ago

The entire City Council and all members of the Public Saftey Commission should have been there seated in the front row to clearly hear Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Tatami’s entire presentation and remarks…..I’m glad I was there.

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
1 month ago

So let me see if I understand this correctly an Assistant DA comes to WeHo and publicly criticizes his reformer boss, defends the current cash bail system which is undeniably unfair and harmful to poor people, speaks highly of the current sheriff who ran on promising to be a reformer but turned out only to be worse than we’d ever seen, and opines on the guilt of a fellow resident of this County that hasn’t even been charged with a crime. I’m truly sorry about his early trauma, but the guy sounds like a jackass that should be fired.

Manny
Manny
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Very over the top judgmental considering you weren’t there to hear him. You missed out on a good opportunity to be in the present.

Ida Claire
Ida Claire
1 month ago
Reply to  Manny

He didn’t have to “be there to hear him”. Everyone reacts to current events, as they may be. People are entitled to make comments on the behavior/activity of any public entity, such as city councils, & you don’t have to be there to get it.

Manny
Manny
1 month ago
Reply to  Ida Claire

…….and you’re entitled to make that comment. But I’m glad I was there to hear the totality of the presentation.

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