Supervisors OK funding for unincorporated-area sheriff’s patrols
By Luke Money
Signal Staff Writer
March 26, 2013
Members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to approve new funding for Sheriff’s Department patrols in the county’s unincorporated areas.
In a 3-1-1 vote, with Supervisor Gloria Molina opposing and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas abstaining, supervisors voted to transfer $22 million to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department patrol and county services budget to offset cuts made to patrol levels earlier this year.
Those cuts were made in January to reduce Sheriff’s Department overtime. Sheriff Lee Baca has said he previously used overtime to provide patrols to unincorporated areas.
According to board documents, the Sheriff’s Department needs $4.5 million to restore the patrols that have been cut in unincorporated areas this year.
Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station Capt. Paul Becker told The Signal in January that the station had to move two crime-prevention deputies to patrol of unincorporated areas after the overtime cuts were made.
In a separate board item, supervisors voted unanimously to designate funds used for unincorporated area patrols as their own portion of the budget for the Sheriff’s Department in the next fiscal year.
Doing so will provide additional insight into the department’s patrol budget, according to board documents.
Supervisors also voted to use funds from state Proposition 172 — a voter-approved measure that raised the state’s sales tax by a half cent to fund public safety activities — to fully finance patrols in unincorporated areas.
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich asked his fellow board members to go one step further and make county funds available to maintain patrol levels if Proposition 172 funds prove insufficient.
Antonovich said the board has an obligation to look out for the interests of those areas.
“We are the mayor and city council members of the unincorporated areas,” Antonovich said.
This action provides flexibility to ensure those patrols are not cut, said county Chief Executive Officer William T. Fujioka.
“Should Prop 172 funding fall below projections that we come back to the board with recommendations to ensure we maintain that funding level through other available sources,” Fujioka said.
Antonovich’s request was also approved unanimously.