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WHAT WE'RE FIGHTING FOR
When it comes to the growing issue of homelessness, Sheriff Alex Villanueva has failed the people of LA County. His combative and divisive approach to our region’s homelessness crisis has exacerbated the issue and led to further government dysfunction. Further, Villanueva's refusal to collaborate with the LA County Board of Supervisors, as well as cities across the county, has led to a deeply toxic environment instead of what the people of LA County need, which is a real, actionable, holistic and commonsense approach to address this emergency.
This crisis is a regional issue that needs to be dealt with on a much more collaborative and collective scale and with extensive cooperation across a number of disciplines, including public agencies and nonprofits, elected leaders, clergy, and more. Villanueva took a model I helped build and eroded it, along with the public's trust. As Sheriff, I will work directly with the various stakeholders to ensure that our county’s chronically unhoused population has access to the critical services they need, including more mental health resources.
It's clear that all kinds of crimes - particularly violent crimes - are on the rise. This has all gone on under the watch of incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva and is just another example of his failed tenure. As Chief of Police at LAX, my job is to keep the public safe, and that's precisely what I will do as LA County's next Sheriff. I will use my background and experience in community-based policing, as well as analyzing data, and expanding mental health services, to bring progress to the LASD so that we can reduce all forms of crime, protect the people of our county, and also institute much-needed reforms at the department.
OFFICER DECERTIFICATION & SHERIFF GANGS
I support officer decertification for officers who are convicted of misconduct, including being a part of a deputy gang. That’s why I support the reforms instituted in AB 958, which would provide a comprehensive definition for law enforcement gangs and require law enforcement agencies to have a policy prohibiting them, and making participation in a gang grounds for termination and prohibit future employment in other law enforcement agencies.
I also believe that officers should be given mandatory training about how sheriff’s deputy gangs are formed and why these abusive subgroups are detrimental. The Sheriff’s department needs to institute a mandatory reporting system for gang involvement and recruitment, which will help both the public and officers trying to escape deputy gang activity. At the very least, those involved in the deputy gangs will be fired; at the most -- they’ll be prosecuted. I will have a no-tolerance policy on deputy gang involvement.
RE-HIRING FIRED OFFICERS
As Sheriff, I will never reinstate an officer who I fire, or a previous Sheriff fired. When officers are let go, there is an extensive process where they are given a number of chances to appeal the decision. If they’re not able to get those decisions overturned, I don’t think it’s in my legal authority to reinstate these officers.
USE OF FORCE COMPLAINT PROCESS
Instead of fighting oversight commissions that review use of force complaints from the Sheriff’s Department, I would find ways to work with them. I believe that these types of commissions are positive for police and police accountability in the long run, because they help law enforcement departments improve.
MEN'S CENTRAL JAIL
I support the efforts to close Men’s Central Jail as it’s an old facility that needs reimagining. I also believe this has to be shut down in a way that makes sense. Some dangerous, violent inmates need to still be housed somewhere separate from the general public. For those where it applies, I will attempt to send them to a mental health facility, and am open to hearing ideas from the community on how to best make these transitions happen in a way that is safe for all parties involved.
ENDING THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE
Too many of our young people, particularly Black and Brown youth, who grow up in poverty or neglected neighborhoods become part of the school to prison pipeline. That's why as Sheriff, I will be deeply dedicated to ending this trend by working collaboratively with leaders at the county, state and federal levels to invest more in education, counseling, drug abuse treatment and diversion programs, mental health, as well as workforce apprenticeship programs and job-training, for these at-risk communities. The way we accomplish this is by focusing on educating more and incarcerating less, so that more of our marginalized young people, especially communities of color, have opportunities to live a life where they reach their full potential.
For far too long the LASD has resisted change and reform. As Sheriff, I'll bring a new vision to the department and take it in a new direction. Beyond the new leadership I will deliver, I also believe there is an important role for oversight from outside of the department. That's why I will work collaboratively with the Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commission, Inspector General, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, as well as community groups across the county, to make sure reforms are being implemented, transparency is enhanced, the corruption stops, and that the LASD is put on a path where we can provide the trust and integrity that the department and the people of LA County deserve.
As frontline workers that often interact with the public, it’s critically important that law enforcement officers be protected from contracting and transmitting COVID-19. But tragically, despite coronavirus being the leading cause of death among law enforcement personnel over the last two years, many officers are still refusing to get vaccinated.
While I understand some folks’ initial skepticism for the vaccine, law enforcement leaders should stand with experts and policymakers in encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations to help bring an end to the pandemic. Having officers remain unvaccinated clearly puts more people, both the public and other officers, in harm’s way.
Unlike the current Sheriff, I will enforce the county-wide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public employees at the LA County Sheriff’s Department just like it’s enforced at the LAPD and within my Airport Police Department. If deputies don’t comply with the county-wide mandate for public workers, they will lose their jobs because public health is paramount to public safety and being vaccinated is a condition of employment.
As Sheriff, I’ll not only lead by example and both encourage officers to get vaccinated and fire those who refuse, but also work to ensure officers are taking the necessary steps to enforce COVID-19 protocols throughout the County by working with the community on education, encouraging compliance and role modeling behaviors. Businesses that fail to comply with the vaccine mandates should be addressed administratively through Business Licensing and the County Public Health Department.
To learn more, click here to read my op-ed in LA Magazine.
REDUCING GUN VIOLENCE
As LA County’s Sheriff, I am committed to ending the epidemic of gun violence that plagues far too many communities throughout LA County. I'll fight to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and make our communities safer.
In a country with as many guns as ours, gun violence is not an easy problem to fix, but there are a number of measures we can enact to make the public safer. One of them is discouraging the use of ghost guns by enhancing penalties for the possession and sale of these rogue guns.
Another is ensuring a transparent concealed carry permitting process, where the applications will be heavily scrutinized and screened. The responsibility of approving concealed carry permits is not something I will take lightly. I understand people want to be safe, but possession of a deadly weapon is an immense responsibility and carrying a gun doesn’t necessarily make someone safer. People need proper training and understand the potential litigation behind using a gun.
Additionally, I can use the bully pulpit of the office to push for common-sense public safety measures that get dangerous guns off the street, including an assault weapons ban and universal background checks. I will also support future technology that may prevent anyone other than the registered owner of the weapon from firing the weapon and the emergence of less-lethal options for both the public and law enforcement.
During my decades in the Sheriff’s Department, I worked in a custodial setting. As someone who has seen them up close, it’s quite clear that private, for-profit prisons are not supportive of the badly needed rehabilitation services for a safer reentry population, and must be banned. These prisons, in an attempt to maximize profits, often cut corners to lower operating costs, resulting in worse treatment of inmates and worse public safety outcomes. In prioritizing profits over rehabilitation—private prisons make us all less safe.
As LA County’s Sheriff, I won’t use for-profit, private prisons, and will advocate for banning them entirely. Additionally, I will collaborate with municipalities, labor groups and community organizations to advance systemic solutions that will reduce recidivism and lower our prison population by connecting at-risk youth or the formerly incarcerated with job training, housing, and employment opportunities.
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