The budget cuts announced by county CEO Sachi Hamai are targeted specifically to hurt public safety in
Los Angeles County, while sparing virtually every other function of county government from any reductions.
The CEO’s recommended budget for the LASD from May was $3.5 billion, a shortfall of $400 million from
the true cost of running the largest sheriff’s department in the nation. As we have been busy reorganizing
around the first massive reduction, the Board of Supervisors are now set to force the community to suffer a
major loss of law enforcement resources with a second round of cuts to the tune of $145.4 million. This is
literally balancing the entire county budget on the back of the LASD.
Half of the LASD’s budget is offset by revenue from contracts that provide law enforcement services to 42
contract cities, the Los Angeles Superior Court system, the Los Angeles Community College District, the
Metropolitan Transit Authority, and other contracts.
The other half is what is known as “Net County Cost” or NCC, and that is the cost of providing patrol to the 131 unincorporated communities throughout the county, running the nation’s largest jail system, and the specialized detective units who serve the entire county such as Homicide Bureau, Special Victim’s Bureau, Major Crimes Bureau, Safe Streets Bureau, and Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau.
The CEO’s proposed budget recommends the following LASD units be eliminated:
• Safe Streets Bureau (Gang Enforcement)
• Parks Bureau
• Special Victims Bureau (Sexual/Physical Abuse of Children, Rape, Human Trafficking)
• Community Partnership Bureau (COPS Team)
• Fraud & Cybercrimes Bureau
• Major Crimes Bureau
The CEO also recommends drastically reducing the following units:
• Custody Operations (various units)
• Mental Health Evaluation Teams (MET)
The CEO and the Board have embraced the “Defund the Police” movement and are cynically hiding behind
accounting maneuvers, knowing well that loss of revenue in sales tax can be made up by equitably
distributing more stable revenue streams like property taxes. This is not acceptable and a willful
abandonment of one of the top priorities of all local government: keeping people safe.
These cuts come at a time when jails were de-populated of over five thousand inmates in order to combat
the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that restrictions are lifting, violent crimes, such as murder, are on the rise
across the County and other metropolitan areas such as New York City and Chicago. Now is not the time to
cut vital law enforcement services, that should be the last thing cut. Curiously, the bloated county
bureaucracy remains virtually intact, which should always be the first to suffer reductions. The priorities of
the Board of Supervisors are not the priorities of the good people of Los Angeles County.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva