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Sheriff Baca Pleads for No More Cuts


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  • Sheriff Baca Pleads for No More Cuts

    March 25, 2011

    The Honorable Board of Supervisors
    County of Los Angeles
    383 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
    Los Angeles, California 90012

    Dear Supervisors:


    I need your support in directing the Chief Executive Officer to not further cut the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s (Department) budget beyond the current $128 million reduction of Fiscal Year (FY) 2010-11. As you know, in March 2010, I embarked on an unprecedented 16-month effort to cut $128 million from the Department’s budget by June 2011. A budget curtailment of this magnitude has necessitated a major realignment of personnel and resources to ensure completion of the Department’s main mission objectives.

    I have worked cooperatively with your offices and the Chief Executive Office (CEO) during this financial crisis and have accepted the reality that my Department has endured more than 70 percent of the Countywide General Fund reduction in FY 2010-11. I have met my financial commitments having realized every possible reduction in our administrative and other support functions, Services and Supplies, Capital Assets, and overtime, as well as having closed a jail. For these reasons, my Department simply cannot absorb any additional cuts without significant further reductions in policing and jail service levels that are vital to community safety.

    Significant Human Resources Toll in Services and Administrative Support

    Despite the best efforts of my staff, this realignment has eroded levels of service, proactivity, responsiveness, and intergovernmental cooperation, which have exemplified the Department during my tenure as Sheriff. In addition to the operational and public safety impacts we have experienced as a result of the budget cuts (Attachment), there is also a human toll. The employees of the Department have shown tremendous leadership and resilience during the past 12 months. As a result of the Cadre of Administrative Reserve Personnel (CARP) program and other realignment measures, my employees have willingly accepted weekly changes in their schedules, working hours, work location, and duties. They have performed their CARP responsibilities with enthusiasm and skill, while diligently attempting to maintain the high quality and quantity of their primary roles. This cannot continue indefinitely. The burden of this realignment is evident as Department members have become fatigued and frustrated by the extraordinary conditions to which they have been subjected.

    Proposed 2011-12 Curtailments

    It had been my hope that some budgetary restoration could be made following our agreed upon 16-month curtailment period. However, as the result of recent budget discussions with the CEO, I have been requested to identify $52.2 million in net County cost reductions for the upcoming budget year. This is impossible for me to do, having already cut a sum larger than all other County Departments combined in the current fiscal year.

    Moreover, my Department must also continue to bear multiple structural shortfalls related to unfunded bonuses, unfunded leaves of absence, unfunded positions, and cost increases totaling $147 million annually. Subsequently, operations are adversely impacted on a daily basis given that the Department must cover such shortfalls in net County cost funding in order to balance its budget. Therefore, I am unable to curtail any part of the recommended $52.2 million without directly impacting unincorporated patrol and other main mission County services that will have a detrimental effect on our community’s safety. Further, there will be a loss of more deputy sheriff positions in addition to the 500 positions lost in the prior two fiscal years.

    It should be noted that even if the Department was funded at current year’s levels without further curtailments, we would be required to continue the nearly 1,400 weekly CARP shifts that have hampered our investigative and other support functions. This program saves approximately $3 million per month in overtime costs. We have maximized the opportunities to CARP additional shifts to reduce overtime, leaving no alternative but to reduce main mission services, if further budgetary curtailments are imposed.

    I fully realize that your Board and the CEO will be required to make some difficult decisions in the next few months as to budgetary impacts facing the County. However, it is imperative that you have available the most current information affecting this Department prior to adoption of the final 2011-12 budget. Public safety must remain the County’s highest priority.

    I am committed to working with you to find an equitable solution to the County’s budgetary shortfalls, which does not put the safety of the citizens of Los Angeles County at further risk. Should you have any questions or require additional information, please contact me or Division Director Victor Rampulla, Administrative Services Division, at (323) 526-5357.





    Several key areas of Department operations have been critically impacted due to our budget reduction efforts of the past 12 months:

    All investigators assigned to our station detective units are required to CARP. They spend 20 percent of their work hours per week filling line positions, which require mandatory staffing. This leaves them only 32 hours per week to complete their primary investigative duties. As a result, the number of open cases assigned to these investigators has risen by 81 percent.

    Many investigators have expressed extreme frustration over their inability to conduct timely investigative follow-up. Search warrant operations have routinely been postponed because CARP requirements restricted the number of personnel available to form a search team. While investigators have shown tremendous dedication and flexibility by adjusting their shift hours to avoid using overtime, this has led to inconsistent staffing as their 40 working hours are expended before the end of their work week; often resulting in a depleted workforce during times when requests for service are at their peak.
    One specific example of a lack of investigative continuity due to the elimination of overtime funding was reported by the Department’s Homicide Bureau (Homicide). In February 2009, an armed kidnap and robbery involving seven members of a criminal street gang occurred in the West Hollywood area. The victim was kidnapped at gunpoint, transported to South Los Angeles, and beaten and robbed of thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry. Homicide became involved because the suspects were also suspects in multiple high profile murders occurring over the past several years. In February 2011, the case was filed and warrants were issued for 4 of the 7 defendants, the other 3 were already in custody for unrelated offenses. However, in an effort to reduce overtime, investigators did not attempt to personally locate the remaining defendants, and full-time surveillance was not authorized due to budget constraints. Only 'spot checks' by surveillance crews and informational bulletins distributed to Los Angeles Police Department have been completed. Consequently, none of the 4 defendants have been located, and continue to pose a threat to the community. It is entirely likely that they will learn of the existence of the warrants from those defendants who are already in custody and will go into hiding to avoid capture.

    There have been severe impacts incurred by our patrol operations, especially the loss of air support due to the grounding of helicopters in lieu of paying the air crew overtime. More than 3,600 requests for air support went unanswered in the past 12 months because overtime was not used to augment flight operations.

    It is difficult to provide an adequate picture of the enormity of this impact to our patrol operations; however, the following is one common example:
    On February 12, 2011, Compton Sheriff’s Station requested air support to assist with the vehicle pursuit of a suspect who utilized a deadly weapon to assault deputies. An air unit was not available due to budget constraints. After a five minute pursuit, the suspect’s vehicle collided into a patrol vehicle. Fortunately, the suspect was apprehended after a brief foot pursuit and subsequent struggle. The availability of an air unit would have afforded the Watch Commander the capability of utilizing aerial surveillance in lieu of direct vehicle pursuit, and thus possibly preventing the damage to the patrol vehicle and subsequent use of force.

    Custody Operations Division (Custody) has been severely impacted by the Department’s budget cuts. Prior to our budget reduction efforts, male misdemeanor offenders were serving approximately 80 percent of their jail sentences. To achieve the required budgetary and staffing curtailments, Custody has closed 4,481 jail beds since January 2010. This resulted in a reduction in the percentage of time served from 80 to 20 percent.

    The Department’s ability to analyze scientific evidence in a timely manner continues to be hindered by the Department’s budget reductions. Scientific Services Bureau (SSB) reports a continuing backlog of narcotics cases awaiting analysis. Due to the extensive training and certification required to perform narcotics analysis, there are a limited number of criminalists who can complete this function. In the past, SSB has relied on overtime to maintain the backlog. The average backlog in 2009 was 256 cases awaiting analysis. On February 28, 2011, that backlog stood at 446 cases, a 74 percent increase.

    Scientific Services Bureau also reports a continuing backlog in fingerprint analysis. In January 2010, SSB reported 413 cases where latent fingerprints were awaiting entry into the Automated Fingerprint Index System (AFIS). As of February 15, 2011, the backlog of cases awaiting entry into AFIS increased by 145 percent to 1,015. Once the AFIS computer analysis is completed and a possible match is identified, the results must be compared by an analyst. The number of cases awaiting assignment to an analyst had more than doubled since January 2010, from 52 (36 of which were homicides) to 193 (108 of which were homicides). Cases that had been assigned to an analyst for comparison and were in progress increased from 51 to 67 cases. The delay in the analysis of fingerprint evidence hampers the overall effectiveness of our investigations and ultimately may allow some criminals to remain at large.

    Court Services Division (CSD) reports an increase in the backlog of work processed by their sworn and civilian process servers due to increased demand for services, CARP obligations, and the curtailment of overtime. The monthly carryover count for unprocessed work in April 2010 was 11,430. That carryover count increased to 31,993 by the end of January 2011, an increase of 180 percent. CSD also reports an increase in the average number of days accrued between the time they receive a request for process service and the first attempt at service from 5 days to 10.

    The Department’s administrative and support functions have also been severely impacted. The backlog of data entry critical to track crime trends and identify possible patterns or suspects has grown by more than 425 percent over the past 12 months. A backlog of critical data entry identifying gang members and their associates has increased to more than 3,200 records. The backlog of overdue responses to service comments made by citizens now stands at 434, an increase of more than 50 percent.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

  • #2
    Do you think it'll work?
    Originally posted by Smurfette
    Lord have mercy. You're about as slick as the business side of duct tape.
    Originally posted by DAL
    You are without doubt a void surrounded by a sphincter muscle.


    • #3
      I doubt it, but he has to try.
      Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
      Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein


      • #4
        Well, I am glad this got posted. I was just starting to think about getting pumped for an LASD recruitment at the end of summer. Now, to find out the county CEO is grinding Baca to find another $50M+ to cut in addition to the already gnarly slashing for this Not gonna happen. I am really sorry for all you deputies in this dept. I have plenty of family members and friends over there who are getting CARP'ed and are definitely sick of it.


        • #5
          post deleted
          Last edited by avalon42; 03-13-2015, 06:59 PM.


          • #6
            Did he ever get rid of his airplane? I remember he purchased some jet years ago that seemed excessive even in flush times.
            Originally posted by FJDave
            GM, you have just set the bar that much higher for the rest of us in our witty, sarcastic responses. I yield to you! Good job, kind Sir!

            District B13
            "We are not cops nor Feds." yet he still poses as an officer Hmmmm

            Grant us grace, fearlessly, to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression.--WWII memorial

            "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile."

            Pope Gregory V II


            • #7
              Originally posted by Garbage Man View Post
              Did he ever get rid of his airplane? I remember he purchased some jet years ago that seemed excessive even in flush times.
              It wasn't a jet, Twin Bonanza I think and it was a joint purchase with another agency I can't remember which. It's still in use by several units I believe. I know about 2 years ago a buddy used it for several fugitive pick ups in Arizona.
              Carpe Noctem


              • #8
                Originally posted by EMVAMPYRE View Post
                It wasn't a jet, Twin Bonanza I think and it was a joint purchase with another agency I can't remember which. It's still in use by several units I believe. I know about 2 years ago a buddy used it for several fugitive pick ups in Arizona.
                It's actually used quite often by detectives.


                • #9
                  Anyone heard anymore about this?


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