OPINION | City Hall wants to ditch the sheriff. They’re spending big bucks to persuade us.

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How much will it cost to answer the (already-once answered) question: Should WeHo create its own police force instead of contracting the Sheriff’s Department?

About $200,000, according to the consultants City Hall wants to hire.

After a tumultuous year in which City Council and the Public Safety Commission waded into the “defund-the-police” waters, cutting back on Sheriff’s deputies in favor of social workers and unarmed security guards as crime skyrocketed, their efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

City staff on Monday will present the Public Safety Commission with a presentation from Matrix Consulting Group, whom they are recommending to handle the task of studying the feasibility of a West Hollywood Police Department, a project City Council budgeted for last summer.

WeHoans of a certain age might feel a sense of deja-vu, as this is not the first time City Hall has attempted to push a municipal police department on its citizens.

The presentation by Matrix sounds curiously similar in tone to last year’s unsolicited audit of the Sheriff’s Department by anti-police activist Nika Soon-Shiong, the billionaire heiress and former Public Safety Commissioner who led the crusade against the Sheriff before resigning in the middle of her term and leaving the country.

Their report reads:

“In recent years, law enforcement has been increasingly asked to function as social services staff in responding to issues of homelessness, intervene in situations involving persons experiencing mental health crisis, and serve numerous other roles beyond what was expected in the past. The spectrum of alternative response reframes this trajectory, examining opportunities to divert calls from sworn response to other providers. “

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In layman’s terms, more unarmed security guards and social workers, less law enforcement.

SPEAK UP DURING THE MEETING!

TO PARTICIPATE BY PROVIDING PUBLIC COMMENT BY TELEPHONE:

You are strongly encouraged to email Jessica Anukam at janukam@weho.org no later than 3:00 P.M. on the meeting day (February 13, 2023) to be added to the Public Speaker List for the meeting. To speak during public comment, please email your name, the phone number from which you will be calling if applicable, and which item you would like to speak on. Your comments and information will become part of the official public record. Please call in and remember to place your phone on mute (*6).

Dial-in 10 minutes prior to the start of the meeting. You will be placed on HOLD in the Virtual Meeting Room until it is your turn to speak.

• Step 1 – Dial-in phone number: (669) 900-6833

• Step 2 – Meeting ID: 814 4884 1956; then press #

• Step 3 – Dial in Code: *6 = unmute

TO PARTICIPATE BY PROVIDING AN E-COMMENT (WRITTEN COMMENT):

You are strongly encouraged to email Jessica Anukam at janukam@weho.org no later than 3:00 P.M. on the meeting day (February 13, 2023). Written correspondence will not be read during the meeting; however, correspondence received by 3:00 P.M. will be forwarded to the Public Safety Commission and posted on the City’s website as part of the official meeting record. If you do not want your personal information included in the official record, please do not include your address and/or phone number.

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[…] movement to end the city’s partnership with the Sheriff’s Department is well under way in City Hall, and staff members have already selected the consultant (Matrix […]

David Reid
1 year ago

The are 88 cities incorporated in Los Angeles County. 43 have their own police departments. Many larger, many smaller than WeHo. How do they do it? A study needs to be presented to citizens. A vote should be taken if only a straw ballot, sense of the city, vote. Many LASD officers who have worked WeHo would likely join WHiPS [West Hollywood Public Safety]. Retirement/pension issues? how do other cities handle it. Is there California [state] retirement programs the city could join? Already many WeHo employees are on very generous pensions.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 year ago

Everyone involved in public safety in West Hollywood needs to pull their heads out of the entrails and deal with reality. Reality is that we a) live in a country with more guns than people, and b) the human condition includes that there will always be people intent on doing harm. I write this as I see the news of yet another active shooter on a college campus, this time at Michigan State University. I’m tired of people who hold offices of public trust abusing the public trust for their political performances and grandstanding for their own personal agenda. Shyne,… Read more »

More Efficient Policing
More Efficient Policing
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Some observations after having watched the discussion last evening. The Chairman, without much critical thought on his own appeared to continually pander to David Wilson and Danny Rivas while other commissioners were fairly definitive.

Once again outside consultants are being asked asking prepare an analysis of facts that should already be known to the city. Would it not be better to articulate the benefits and deficits of our current law enforcement team and the responsibilities provided by the LASD? Improving what we currently have seems far better than starting from scratch no matter how idealistic the objectives may be.

Left Field
Left Field
1 year ago

The consultants should be called in to find out what happened to West Hollywood Social Services. The Sheriff department is not the issue.

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 year ago

I posted four links to answer a question.
Where are the other two articles?

Manny
Manny
1 year ago

The current political dysfunction does not lend itself to an intelligent and fair conversation about policing, especially when it comes to building a new police force from the ground up. 

We already have our own police force, it’s called the Sheriff…….Unless it’s about re-instating the deputies that were cut, no further consultations are necessary. 

Eric
Eric
1 year ago
Reply to  Manny

Exactly

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 year ago

California was a police state when I moved here nearly forty years ago. It is long past time to think about real public safety, as the LAPD and LASD are some of the most oppressive and corrupt police agencies in US.

Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson
1 year ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Show us proof.

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Anderson

Check Out America’s Worst Police Departments (theroot.com)

The company examined over 766,000 tweets about sentiment toward law enforcement in each state. The state with the most positive perception of police was New Hampshire. The most negative: Arkansas. The city with the most positive perception of police was Columbus, Ohio, while the one with the most negative was, not surprisingly, Ferguson, Mo. Other “failing” city police departments included Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, New York and Denver. Baltimore, a city still reeling from recent unrest, received a D grade.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 year ago
Reply to  Joshua88

I wouldn’t want to be a cop in Ferguson, Mo if what we saw during the Michael Brown incident is representative of the wider community there. “Hands up, Don’t shoot” was never said and Michael Brown was totally responsible for his own death. The cop who shot him had no choice but to shoot him, other than to give up his own life. Michael Brown’s fingerprints were on the barrel of the gun that was used to shoot him as he tried to take it from the cop. I’m left to believe that the community is largely not law abiding… Read more »

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 year ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

You missed the point.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 year ago
Reply to  Joshua88

I don’t believe I did. I was suggesting that you consider the source of the negative perceptions of law enforcement. The highly irresponsible reporting of the Michael Brown incident and what appears to me to be a larger than normal populace that needs policing means that those people would not speak well of their police force who may, objectively, be doing a superior job. Expand that thought to the other cities and states who report low sentiment towards their police departments and it makes the reported findings less than convincing. There must be some more objective way to reach a… Read more »

No Proof
No Proof
1 year ago
Reply to  Joshua88

That site has no credibility. Their first mistake was to make an analysis based on tweets.

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 year ago
Reply to  No Proof

I posted four articles.

No Proof
No Proof
1 year ago
Reply to  Joshua88

“yahoo.com”??!! Nuff said.

Stevie
Stevie
1 year ago
Reply to  No Proof

Not just Yahoo but also twitter, you know the social media company that suppressed the Hunter Bunsen laptop story? Believe them like CNN and MSNBC

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 year ago
Reply to  Joshua88

nonsense. the only people that have a beef with the police are criminals.

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 year ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

That is merely your perception, Ham.

And you might be off a hair or two.

Michael G Labarbera
Michael G Labarbera
1 year ago

WE DO NOT HAVE THE INFRASTRUCTURE TO HIRE, TRAIN AND EQUIP A POLICE FORCE. ONCE AGAIN THE CITY COUNCIL PROVES THAT THEY CARE NOTHING FOR THE CITIZENS OF WEST HOLLYWOOD. WE NEED TO START SOME RECALLS!

Marc Thomas
Marc Thomas
1 year ago

MAKE SURE TO SPEAK UP ON MONDAY. It’s pertinent the Public Safety commission hears both sides of the argument. The defund movement is well organized and surely will be there using their right to public comment. The plan for Weho’s own police department is ludicrous. Fund the West Hollywood’s Sheriff Station and let the brave deputies do their job. Residents are thankful for their service.

Marc Thomas
Marc Thomas
1 year ago
Reply to  Marc Thomas

That said, do public safety commissioners and (most) members of the City Council even care what the public thinks? They have their agenda and political ambitions, and will operate accordingly. I’m too jaded, perhaps?

Connect the Dots
Connect the Dots
1 year ago
Reply to  Marc Thomas

Not jaded at all. Be prepared for “Mayor” Shyne to cut comment time down to one minute if she deems too much opposition to her pals.

And a survey of Shyne’s campaign contributors is well worth a thorough read. You can find it under City Clerk section of Weho. org. Connecting the dots answers many questions.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Marc Thomas

When you speak at the Public Safety Commission or before the City Council, be sure to state your City of residence. These meeting will be packed with people who don’t live in our City who have their own agenda and don’t care about our safety. If the City is serious about this issue, it needs to be an open and inclusive process where the residents are insured a voice and everyone’s questions and concerns are addressed.

John Arnold
John Arnold
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Steve, is it helpful to make a public comment at the Public Safety commission? I feel it may be of more value to speak when this is getting discussed at City Council. The Public Safety commission has no power and will likely approve and pass it on.

carleton cronin
1 year ago

Once again, every ten years or so, people in our administration seem eager to wrestle with thus question. What sort of conversations take place during contract negotiations with LASD and the city? Do we make unreasonable requests? LASD wants our business and I cannot believe they offer intractable positions. “:De-funding” the police continues to be absurd. What do reasonable citizens think of this constant drone from those other people who have no idea of what our city would be like without police. They are a – unfortunately – necessary element in a world with increasing crime. LASD, just like LAFD,… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 year ago

Should just hire the BH Police to handle WH. Can’t trust WH government to get policing right.

Koweho
Koweho
1 year ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Agree 100%. I always wondered why this was not pursued earlier given the cities intermingling.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Koweho

The City of Beverly Hills has ZERO interest in patrolling West Hollywood. Not even an option.

Cy Husain
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Tell them we are pitching a new show COPS 90210 ❗ 🤣

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Can you blame them? Policing all the creeps and drug addicts doesn’t sound like much fun.

But they do a great job in BH. The city is well run and doesn’t care about all the nonsense WH focusing on.

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 year ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Except that they had a problem with racist cops.

Cy Husain
1 year ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Reality ✅ Beverly Hells is hardly without a trace of “creeps and drug addicts” and I would go so far as to claim that condition far exceeds nearly anywhere else. The high number of “creeps” comes from their feelings of entitlement and very real privilege that enables this behavior. The same with “drug addicts,” it’s NOT like drug cartels have low income rates ❗ 🤣

Last edited 1 year ago by Cy Husain
Cy Husain
1 year ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

West Hollywood local government👼🏽 wasn’t the one that got it wrong in the first place, that was the corrupt LASD 👹 ❗

Randy
Randy
1 year ago

I am shocked that it will only cost $200,000. If so, it’s definitely worth exploring. But what about a jail system? A court system? Specialized detectives (arson, murder suspects that have got away, etc.)? Are they going to partner with the LASD/County of Los Angeles, etc., for those services? Do they get to take over the existing sheriff station in the city? And how long would that take to implement? So many questions… I have always thought this was a bad idea, because I thought it would be atrociously expensive, and I was concerned about those other services. But at… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Randy
Elyse Eisenberg
Elyse Eisenberg
1 year ago
Reply to  Randy

The $200k is only for the consultant’s fee, not the cost of getting our own PD.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Randy

As you have pointed out there are lots of questions that should be discussed before we embark on hiring a consultant. For starters, the costs of infrastructure: our own station, vehicles, equipment and the like. Beverly Hills is paying something like $90 million a year for law enforcement. We might want to look at what Culver City or other similarly situated cities with their own forces are paying before we even hire a consultant. There are reasons why cities such as Santa Clarita and Malibu contract with the Sheriff. We can afford our own police force but only if we… Read more »

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