Rick Barker | Taking Issue with Citations Report

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

I am a huge fan of our sheriff’s deputies here in the valley and I’m even learning to like and admire L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva — not quite as much as his deputies, but I’m getting there the more he fights the L.A. County district attorney. Having said that, I take issue with the Sheriff’s Department over a Nov. 2 article in The Signal, “SCV sees 36.7% decline in speeding tickets issued.” It states: “The Santa Clarita Valley has seen a drop in speeding tickets issued, as well as a drop in overall traffic citations, according to local law enforcement data.”

While I don’t doubt that on its face this might sound encouraging, the problem is, have the speeding and other traffic violations actually declined or are they just not catching and ticketing the violators as much as they were in the past? While I obviously have no actual data or proof available to me as John Q. Citizen I would bet the farm that it’s the latter and not the former.

Obviously, as the number of deputies per “X” number of people declines, the overall effectiveness of law enforcement in general and traffic citations in particular will also decline proportionally. As we all know the population in this valley has skyrocketed over the past 10 years and I do not believe the Sheriff’s Department numbers have kept up with that at all. A whole bunch of taxpayer money just got spent on the new sheriff’s office out here, but the number of deputies wasn’t increased at all. And I will go out on a limb and state that common sense tells me that having two deputies per car would be far more efficient, not to mention far safer for both the deputies and also the people they are interacting with. A lone deputy dealing with multiple people/suspects is obviously going to be at a disadvantage and will react accordingly unless and until some backup arrives. In a two-deputy car that backup is already there.

My backyard faces Newhall Ranch Road, which is like a damned drag strip all day and all night long from Golden Valley Road in the east to the Interstate 5 Freeway in the west, and not just on weekends. If you are driving 50 mph (the speed limit), you will get run off the road, even if you’re in the slow lane. The motorcycles on this stretch also routinely drive WAY over the speed limit and I’ve stopped counting how many times I have seen motorcyclists riding on the back tire from one stop light to the next. If they hit two greens they just keep on going on the back tire until they actually have to stop for a red light.

My suggestion is for everyone who agrees with these observations to start complaining about it to the City Council to get them to increase the contract payment for the Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement in the valley. We want more deputies on the streets and we want our deputies to have adequate backup when they need it so all of our deputies can be more assured of going home to their loved ones, and residents can feel a bit safer whether it’s driving, walking, riding their bikes or just sitting at home.

Rick Barker


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