Diez urges to follow ‘safer at home’ order, Villanueva addresses National Guard

Justin Diez, who had previously worked as an operations lieutenant under former captain Robert Lewis, was selected as the new captain for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's station. Courtesy of the city of Santa Clarita

Capt. Justin Diez issued his first statement as head of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Monday, reminding residents to follow the statewide order to stay at home as deputies continue patrolling the area amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“Deputies will remain vigilant and are conducting frequent checks of our local businesses, shopping centers and neighborhoods,” he said in a statement. “Proactive law enforcement will continue, and we will work tirelessly to identify and apprehend anyone committing crime in our community.” 

With directives put into effect Friday and through April 19 for everyone to stay home and for most businesses to close, violations of the order, such as if restaurants are allowing people to dine in, can be enforced as a misdemeanor or by the issuance of fines. 

Diez said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva “has provided our station with additional patrol resources to ensure our community is safe.” 

In response to the White House’s Sunday announcement activating the National Guard in California, Villanueva said Monday that troops would only arrive in Southern California if he finds it necessary. 

“We’re not using the National Guard at this time in Los Angeles County,” he said during a live Facebook broadcast with the county. “If the need arises, (it would be) strictly for humanitarian purposes and I’ll make that request through the state through the (Office of Emergency Services) and we’re not planning on doing that at this time.” 

Villanueva said the LASD delivered an estimated 30,000 masks to its small municipal police departments through the county in an effort to protect first responders who are on the front lines exposed to the coronavirus COVID-19. 

Diez reiterated that while deputies will continue to “proactively address crime and public safety issues,” the community is encouraged to say something if they see something. 

“As always, don’t hesitate to call our station for any concerns in your neighborhood. If you ‘See Something, Say Something,’” he said. “The relationships this community has cultivated in the past will undoubtedly serve all of us well in the future.

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