Sheriff Vilnauba gives Metro an ultimatum regarding public transportation policing

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Calling on the current Los Angeles County Department of Transportation system to fail, Sheriff Alex Willenova said Wednesday he would pull all of his deputies from patrol positions on July 1, unless his department wins a contract to provide the All policing. On buses, trains and stations.

What you need to know

  • Under a contract originally approved in 2017, metro police policing roles are shared by the Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles and Long Beach Police Departments.
  • The sheriff said that due to a staff freeze in his department, he is more than willing to pull the 300 deputies currently designated for the transit system.
  • Metro officials could not be reached for comment
  • Villanueva said his agency’s agreement with Metro would expire on July 1

Pointing to what he called an increase in criminal activity on metro transport lines and stations, along with a growing issue of homeless people roaming or even living on trains, Vilnova said “the status quo is not acceptable. We do not intend to continue with that.”

Under a contract originally approved in 2017, metro police policing roles are shared by the sheriff’s department and the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments.

Villanueva said his agency’s agreement with Metro would expire on July 1, and the department informed Metro on Wednesday that it plans to make an offer for the full policing services contract. The contract will also call for deputies to have full enforcement authority, including breaches of the code of conduct such as trespassing, urination, loud music playing and pay evasion – issues that the sheriff said were passed on to metro security guards or ambassadors in an effort to reduce law enforcement presence in the system.

“We are going to make offers on the whole contract,” he told reporters. “We are not going to make offers for parts of it. We are not going to run for the role of overpaid security.”

The sheriff said that due to the recruitment freeze in his department, the agency is approaching 1,000 vacancies, and is more than willing to pull the 300 delegates currently allocated to the transition system and transfer them to other positions to help fill the gap.

“We have all the staff dedicated to the system – I have three jobs waiting for every single deputy,” he said. .

He claimed the sheriff’s department’s contract offer would be $ 30 million cheaper in Metro’s current police districts. But he said full enforcement authority would be required over the transition system, and the issue “is not negotiable.”

“This is going to be a contract where we are going to enforce the code of conduct, evasion of tariffs and the rule of law,” he said. “That’s what we’re going to do.”

Metro officials could not be reached for comment.

Metro’s board of directors increased its law enforcement budgets in December, but also continued efforts to move toward a more community-based approach to public safety, relying on ambassadors and security guards to respond to basic behavior violations, rather than armed law enforcement. . The effort began after the death of George Floyd, which led to a national re-evaluation of the police.

Metro’s vision includes efforts such as transit ambassadors, elevator attendants and a flexible launch system to enable the response of homeless outreach workers, mental health experts and unarmed security personnel. Transition ambassadors will be trained in reducing escalation and customer service to support transition workers and riders.

Vilnauwa pointed to various crimes recently known in the metro system, including people being pushed in front of approaching trains by homeless people, shootings of passengers on trains, a recent knife attack at Willowbrook station and a recent case of homeless people. Died on the train but was not discovered for six hours. He said Tuesday’s shooting on a New York subway deck underscored the need for comprehensive security systems on transit lines.

The LAPD issued a statement via Twitter late Wednesday, insisting that there was a decline in violent crime in the metro system from pre-epidemic levels.

“The MTA’s rider safety has not fluctuated significantly for the Los Angeles Police Department since receiving the 2017 MTA contract,” according to the LAPD. “The men and women of the LAPD closely monitor trains, platforms and buses every day around the clock. This is evident when comparing the pre-epidemic violent crime between 2019 and 2022, as there is a 22% decrease. Translated into 47 fewer victims of crime violent.

“We continue to partner with MTA, various labor unions, Amtrak and our law enforcement partners at LASD and Long Beach.”

Hours after the end of his press conference, Vilnauba issued a “clarification” statement saying, “In no time have I made any dispersion about (the LAPD Officers’ Union) the Los Angeles Police Department’s Defense League and the Los Angeles Police Department. My comments were directed at “The decisions have been made by the City of Los Angeles and the MTA Board, and it does not reflect the brave men and women of LAPPL and LAPD, who are doing an amazing job for the Angelos they are defending and serving.”

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