Contract Cities in LA County Are Overpaying for LASD Services (2022)

Contract Cities in LA County Are Overpaying for LASD Services (1)

Nika Soon-Shiong is the Public Safety Commissioner for West Hollywood.

The largest sheriff’s department in the world is price gouging 42 cities. The LA County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) receives $315 million in annual revenue from contracts with municipalities including Compton, Pico Rivera, and West Hollywood. The department receives a $3.6 billion allocation to patrol unincorporated areas, jails, courts, and school campuses in the county. Over the past decade, the cost of an LASD officer has quietly increased by 100%.

A single deputy now costs West Hollywood taxpayers $358,000 per year. When confronted about this, the sheriff makes two arguments: 1) Crime is skyrocketing, and 2) Cities’ law enforcement expenditure is not. Both statements are false.

Let’s Look at How the LASD Reports Crime Trends in WeHo

A few days after the Public Safety Commission passed a successful motion to reallocate $3.2 million of the $20.4 million LASD contract toward social services, news outlets including KTLA, FOX, and Los Angeles magazine reported a 137% increase of crime in the area. This would mean that WeHo, a city of two square miles currently overseen by 60 sworn officers, has become the most dangerous place in all of LA County. The claim was corroborated by a “security expert” — who was in fact a former WeHo LASD volunteer and Beverly Hills arms dealer.

(Video) Board of County Commissioners Public Meeting - 8/20/19

The WeHo Mayor posted a video doubling down on this narrative as a reason to spend more on the LASD contract, sparking backlash from a former Compton mayor, civil rights attorneys, and public defenders, as well as organizations such as La Defensa, People’s City Council, Check the Sheriff, Film the Police LA, and the JusticeLA and Reimagine LA coalitions.

The LASD showed up in force to the next West Hollywood City Council meeting. Over a six-hour spectacle, the 137% increase suddenly became a 51% increase in crime. The supposed 137% increase was from a comparison between data collected by the sheriff’s office in March 2021 and March 2022, as if nothing had happened in between. The sheriff presented a comparison of certain months of 2020 in a way which also slanted crime trends. A closer look at the report clarifies that the significant 51% increase is: “somewhat skewed … due to pandemic related business and club closures.”

After all, the supposed spike was revealed to be theft of phones in night clubs, which is now counted as grand theft due to the price of smartphones. Waving props of recovered, stolen phones, officers proclaimed to be addressing this “crisis” via efforts “related to gaining information on whether people are intoxicated at clubs and where phones are.” A much quieter admission was buried: officers patrolling dimly lit night clubs had only solved two out of 249 cases last year.

Without cherry picking numbers or months, we can see the actual incidence of Part I Crimes — which include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, and arson — has not reached pre-pandemic levels, and is still significantly lower than 10 years ago.

(Video) City of Compton sues L.A. County Sheriff's Department over fraud allegations | ABC7

Contract Cities in LA County Are Overpaying for LASD Services (2)

If Crime is Lower Than It Has Been Historically, Shouldn’t the Costs of Law Enforcement Be Going Down?

Exactly the opposite is happening. And the rising costs are stunning. The LASD charges cities by the number of deputies on patrol. The cost per deputy rose by over 100% in the last decade. This means that 42 contract cities are spending more on their LASD contracts for fewer sworn officers.

Contract Cities in LA County Are Overpaying for LASD Services (3)

West Hollywood will pay $358,870.40 per deputy this year. That number includes $125,219 in salary, $102,220 in benefits, $70,000 for overhead, and $35,246 in liabilities. This is outrageous, particularly considering that it’s over three times the average salary for an LA County Department of Mental Health employee or social worker.

The sheriff’s public statements about deputy costs have consistently shifted. When I first pointed out the fact that the contract for 67 deputies cost $12.4 million ten years ago and today 60 deputies would cost $20.4 million, Sheriff Villanueva penned a 15-page letter to the city council. He wrote:

Contract Cities in LA County Are Overpaying for LASD Services (4)

Then, in a presentation to the April city council meeting, the 18.3% figure suddenly became an “average annual increase” of 3.16%.

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Contract Cities in LA County Are Overpaying for LASD Services (5)

Then, the Sheriff’s Department just lied. The head of the Contract Law Enforcement Bureau — responsible for managing contract law enforcement programs totaling more than $850 million — told the council that the cost per deputy includes the 11% cities pay for liabilities. It doesn’t.

Liability costs have gone up five times in recent years. The contract cities’ insurance broker stated (1:19) that the LASD is “getting to the point where it’s becoming uninsurable.” This can happen as early as next July. If it does, cities will be forced to settle claims and suits against the LASD, estimated at well over $20 million per case. In the meantime, contract cities are expected to front a risk that even private insurance companies are hesitant to assume.

There’s a Reason Why Crime is Not a Performance Indicator of Law Enforcement Contracts

The LASD fears what will happen when we see the bigger story of their complete data. There is no correlation between crime reduction and law enforcement spending. In the words of the LA County CEO Fesia Davenport, “The Department has yet to produce a concrete, data-driven spending plan for public safety … This requires focus and vision rather than sound bites and social media posts.”

Contract Cities in LA County Are Overpaying for LASD Services (6)

Contract cities are paying more for less LASD service to the detriment of communities’ perception of public safety. It comes as no surprise that the LASD is trying to convince public officials that spending over one fourth of the city’s budget to pay for 60 officers to patrol two square miles and solve an average of two cases of stolen phones is not only reasonable, but urgent.

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The recent scandal in WeHo mirrors LASD’s larger public relations push. As of 2020, the LASD has 42 people in its PR department, where a strategic communications director makes an annual $200,000. Officers are blaming “defunding” for their inability to provide service — in spite of the fact that they hired or promoted 1,900 employees during the county’s “hiring freeze.” Sheriff Alex Villanueva recently called the 2022-23 proposed $3.6 billion allocation to the department a “woke budget.”

There is no time to wait for an additional fiscal audit, as cities will finalize their service agreements in June. In the most recent 2022-23 budget fact sheet, the LA County CEO expressed an exasperated clarification that all cities should keep in mind as they renew contracts with the LASD: “The Sheriff has not been prevented from hiring more deputies to serve Contract Cities … The Sheriff continues to provide just one side of the story.”

Most public officials and residents support fiscally responsible investments of taxpayer money. Since the $3.2 million contract reallocation in WeHo will not affect LASD’s hiring, and the department has yet to produce a logical justification against it, we have to ask… is this a sound investment in public safety? Are contract cities willing to pay at least $329,713 for each officer, and then 11% on top of the contract in liabilities? Or, are there many other evidence-based and affordable strategies for making us safer?

When the complete picture of crime data and LASD costs is laid out, it’s difficult to see how contract cities benefit from the LASD’s monopoly over public safety narratives and budgets. In fact, it’s as difficult to see as a stolen phone in a crowded, dark nightclub.

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FAQs

Which is bigger LAPD or LASD? ›

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (LASD)

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department has about 600 fewer sworn deputies than the LAPD (aka about 9,400) but employs twice as many civilians. It's the largest sheriff's agency in the world and it's a much more complicated organization than the LAPD.

What is difference between LAPD and LASD? ›

LAPD is the Los Angeles Police Department. LASD is the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. LAPD provides full spectrum law enforcement within the city limits of Los Angeles.

Who oversees LA County Sheriff's Department? ›

Sheriff Alex Villanueva

A 34-year veteran of the Department, Sheriff Villanueva commands the largest Sheriff's Department in the United States, with nearly 18,000 budgeted sworn and professional staff.

What jurisdiction does LASD cover? ›

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) is a law enforcement agency which serves Los Angeles County, California -- an area totaling approximately 4,084 square miles with a population of almost 10 million people (2010 U.S. Census).

What is the most powerful law enforcement agency in the United States? ›

The Department of Justice is the law enforcement agency with the most power in the United States. In fact, its job is to enforce federal laws. The Department of Justice is led by the attorney general, a cabinet-level official who is appointed by the president. The FBI is part of the Department of Justice.

Who has the largest sheriff department in the United States? ›

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is United States' largest sheriff's department with 18,000 employees and covers 23 Patrol Stations in different parts of California, providing patrol services for 153 unincorporated communities. The department covers 4,084 square miles with a population of 10.04 million people.

Who is higher sheriff or police? ›

A Sheriff is generally (but not always) the highest, usually elected, law-enforcement officer of a county. Chiefs of Police usually are municipal employees who owe their allegiance to a city.

How much does a deputy sheriff make in Los Angeles? ›

Effective Tax Rates for Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputies

The average salary for a sheriff deputy in California is $97,000 per year. Sheriff deputy salaries in California can vary between $56,000 to $171,000 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.

How much does a Lasd custody assistant make? ›

LA County Sheriff's Department Custody Assistants earn $49,000 annually, or $24 per hour, which is equal to the national average for all Custody Assistants at $49,000 annually and 30% lower than the national salary average for ​all working Americans.

What's the difference between a sheriff and a police? ›

In direct terms, the key difference between a police officer and a sheriff is that at the Justice Centre, a sheriff officer is in charge of protection, convict transportation, and civil document services. On the other hand, a police officer enforces the law in a county, city, or town.

Can you conceal carry in Los Angeles? ›

Yes. You need to have a handgun registered to you in the state of California at the time of application. If you do not, you do not qualify to obtain a CCW.

What cities does LASD serve? ›

  • Altadena.
  • Avalon.
  • Carson.
  • Century.
  • Cerritos.
  • Compton.
  • Crescenta Valley.
  • East Los Angeles.

How much does an LASD captain make? ›

As of Oct 9, 2022, the average annual pay for a Police Captain in Los Angeles is $73,040 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $35.12 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,404/week or $6,086/month.

Can LASD have beards? ›

Specific Sworn Male Standards (1110.00)

Beards are not allowed. Mustaches must be kept neatly trimmed and will not exceed the upper border of the lip or extend more than 114 inch horizontally beyond the comers of the mouth. b. Mustaches and goatees must follow the natural arch of the mouth.

Is FBI over US Marshal? ›

FBI agents and U.S. marshals are both part of federal law enforcement, but they have very different missions. FBI special agents are federal cops, whose beats extend from counter-terrorism to exposing white-collar crime. The job duties of a deputy U.S. marshal are more specialized.

What is the most prestigious law enforcement? ›

Known for being on the cutting-edge of forensic technology, and innovative investigative techniques, the FBI is America's principal law enforcement agency.

Who is higher FBI or Homeland Security? ›

The FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are both federal-level law enforcement and investigative agencies. One is not “higher” than the other, just as Walmart is not “higher” than Target, or vice versa. Both have their spheres of influence and focus areas.

Do sheriffs outrank federal agents? ›

Its animating idea is that a sheriff holds ultimate law-enforcement authority in his county—outranking even the federal government within its borders.

Is a marshal higher than a sheriff? ›

He is generally considered to be the highest law enforcement officer of a county. In most cases, a sheriff is elected by the citizens of the county. The office of the sheriff is called as 'marshal'.
...
SheriffMarshall
AuthorizationThey have authority over the entire county.They have authority over the entire nation.
5 more rows

Who is the longest serving sheriff in the US? ›

Dwight E. Radcliff (September 14, 1932 – May 6, 2020) was Sheriff of Pickaway County, Ohio from 1965 to 2013. He was the longest-serving sheriff in the United States. First elected in 1964 as a Democrat, he was re-elected 12 times.

Why do sheriffs wear brown? ›

Others believe sheriffs' departments wear browns because the uniforms will not show dust or dirt from the more rural areas they tend to be charged with protecting. There are also arguments that none of the uniforms are white because it would make the officers too visible at night—putting the officers in danger.

Do Detectives outrank officers? ›

In most departments, a detectives have several years of experience and may informally “outrank” patrol officers in certain situations—like when working on a specific case they're assigned to.

What's the difference between a marshal and a sheriff? ›

US Marshals differ from sheriffs and police officers in one primary way: they are hired on at a federal level as opposed to in a city, county, or state jurisdiction. US Marshals primarily handle fugitive arrests, federal prisoner transportation, and the witness protection program.

What is the highest paying job in law enforcement? ›

The Chief of Police is the top position in civilian law enforcement. The Chief of Police has the highest paying job in law enforcement for the civilian sector, making between $96,000 and $160,000 a year (In Salary).

Where do sheriffs get paid the most? ›

Top companies for Deputy Sheriffs in United States
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. 4.1 $116,765per year. ...
  • County of Santa Clara. 4.0 $96,039per year. ...
  • County of Sonoma (CA) 4.1 $94,569per year. ...
  • County of Ventura Government. 4.2 $91,566per year. ...
  • County of San Mateo, CA. 3.9 $91,339per year. ...
  • Show more companies.
16 Oct 2022

How much does a LAPD commander make? ›

Next »
PositionDepartmentSalary
POLICE COMMANDERPOLICE OFFICERS$179,589
POLICE COMMANDERPOLICE OFFICERS$179,589
POLICE COMMANDERPOLICE OFFICERS$179,589
POLICE CAPTAIN IIIPOLICE OFFICERS$170,235
96 more rows

How much does a fire chief make in LA County? ›

How much does a Fire Battalion Chief make in Los Angeles, CA? The average Fire Battalion Chief salary in Los Angeles, CA is $95,900 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $88,600 and $112,500.

How much does a sheriff make in California an hour? ›

Deputy Sheriff Salary in California
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$61,534$30
75th Percentile$51,609$25
Average$48,850$23
25th Percentile$36,722$18

How much does a Lasd lieutenant make? ›

The average Police Lieutenant salary in Los Angeles, CA is $115,135 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $99,138 and $120,545.

Who is higher sheriff or police? ›

A Sheriff is generally (but not always) the highest, usually elected, law-enforcement officer of a county. Chiefs of Police usually are municipal employees who owe their allegiance to a city.

How big is the Lasd? ›

Personnel, programs and equipment. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is the largest sheriff's department and the fourth largest local policing agency in the United States. There are approximately 17,926 employees; over 9,972 sworn deputies and 7,954 non sworn members (professional staff).

How big is the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department? ›

It is the largest Sheriff's Department in the world, with approximately 18,000 employees.

Who holds the highest authority in the police station? ›

Director general of police (DGP) is a rank in the Indian Police Service, held by the highest ranking police officer in a State or a Union Territory of India, typically heading the state or the UT police force.

Why do sheriffs wear brown? ›

Others believe sheriffs' departments wear browns because the uniforms will not show dust or dirt from the more rural areas they tend to be charged with protecting. There are also arguments that none of the uniforms are white because it would make the officers too visible at night—putting the officers in danger.

Do Detectives outrank officers? ›

In most departments, a detectives have several years of experience and may informally “outrank” patrol officers in certain situations—like when working on a specific case they're assigned to.

Is a marshal higher than a sheriff? ›

He is generally considered to be the highest law enforcement officer of a county. In most cases, a sheriff is elected by the citizens of the county. The office of the sheriff is called as 'marshal'.
...
SheriffMarshall
AuthorizationThey have authority over the entire county.They have authority over the entire nation.
5 more rows

Who is the longest serving sheriff in the US? ›

Dwight E. Radcliff (September 14, 1932 – May 6, 2020) was Sheriff of Pickaway County, Ohio from 1965 to 2013. He was the longest-serving sheriff in the United States. First elected in 1964 as a Democrat, he was re-elected 12 times.

Is LA County jail overcrowded 2022? ›

With more than 14,000 people currently detained in Los Angeles County jails, the system is operating almost 20 percent over capacity. (The county and sheriff told the court that while there is a bottleneck at the IRC, overcrowding is not an issue at other facilities.)

How much does a LASD custody assistant make? ›

LA County Sheriff's Department Custody Assistants earn $49,000 annually, or $24 per hour, which is equal to the national average for all Custody Assistants at $49,000 annually and 30% lower than the national salary average for ​all working Americans.

How much does a LAPD commander make? ›

Next »
PositionDepartmentSalary
POLICE COMMANDERPOLICE OFFICERS$179,589
POLICE COMMANDERPOLICE OFFICERS$179,589
POLICE COMMANDERPOLICE OFFICERS$179,589
POLICE CAPTAIN IIIPOLICE OFFICERS$170,235
96 more rows

How much does a deputy sheriff make in Los Angeles? ›

Effective Tax Rates for Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputies

The average salary for a sheriff deputy in California is $97,000 per year. Sheriff deputy salaries in California can vary between $56,000 to $171,000 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.

How much does a deputy chief make in LA? ›

How much does a Deputy Chief of Staff make in California? The average Deputy Chief of Staff salary in California is $113,674 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $102,422 and $125,838.

Who is most powerful police officer? ›

The correct answer is Director General of Police. In India, the Director-General of Police (DGP) is the highest-ranking police officer in an Indian State or Union Territory. DGP typically heads the state or UT police force, who in case, are also called State Police Chief.

Who is the boss of the police chief? ›

All of the officers, detectives, sergeants, lieutenants, commanders, and the deputy chief report to the police chief. Within the department, the chief of police does not report to anyone; however, the chief is ultimately responsible for the department and must report to the mayor and city officials.

What does 3 stars on a police uniform mean? ›

ACP( ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER OF POLICE ) OR DCP( DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF POLICE) WITH THREE STARS .

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