SCV Sheriff’s Station turns down extra OT funds to deter holiday crime

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The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station won’t receive any of the $1 million that Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she’s offering sheriff’s stations in her district to deter holiday crime in unincorporated areas, according to the supervisor’s office. 

Following Barger’s Tuesday morning announcement that she is allocating up to $1 million in discretionary funds to help boost law enforcement services during the holidays in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County’s 5th Supervisorial District, a representative for the supervisor said the SCV Sheriff’s Station had declined the additional funding. 

Capt. Justin Diez of the SCV Sheriff’s Station told The Signal Tuesday afternoon that his station has staffing shortages and that he’s already covered those shortages with overtime, and didn’t need funding for essentially more overtime because the deputies at the station don’t have the capacity to shoulder more overtime than they already are. 

“We did decline overtime money for the holiday patrol for a couple of reasons,” he said. “There’s been extreme staffing shortages over the last year and a half. We’ve got a significant amount of overtime already and I didn’t want to further that any more.” 

“We’ve got holiday patrol overtime that we’ve been planning,” Diez added. “We’ve got quite a few special teams here, both in the county and in the city, so, all of our special teams are doing crime enforcement operations, which are centering around a lot of our big-ticket locations. For example, the mall, Walmarts, Targets, Ulta beauties, all of those places. Given that we have all of these special teams — all the special teams are required to do several crime enforcement operations per month — ultimately, we’ve got the holiday patrol covered. And in addition to that, we don’t need any more overtime beyond what we have in patrol, not only for the county area, but for the city area.” 

The additional funds offered by Barger would not have been available for enforcement within the city of Santa Clarita, which has its own contract with the Sheriff’s Department. The added funds would have been available for enforcement in unincorporated areas outside the city, such as Stevenson Ranch, Westridge, Castaic, Val Verde and Agua Dulce. 

According to Barger’s news release, she’s offering the funding as a means to address increased criminal activity that’s expected at this time of year.  

“Last year’s smash-and-grab crime wave taught us we need to be ready to prevent theft before it happens,” Barger said in her statement. “The funds I’m allocating to sheriff stations in the 5th District will help provide more law enforcement patrols and increase their presence in the communities I represent. Everyone deserves to feel safe during the holidays, whether they work in retail, are out shopping for loved ones, or simply enjoying time off at home.” 

According to Helen Chavez, spokeswoman for Barger’s office, sheriff’s stations that accepted the funding are those in Altadena, Crescenta Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and San Dimas.  

Newly elected L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna, who took over as sheriff on Monday, reacted to Barger’s announcement in a prepared statement, saying, “With Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s significant financial support, we will be increasing high-visibility patrols in the unincorporated areas in the 5th District, in an effort to deter crime and provide for a safer shopping experience. As always, we encourage the public to be aware of their surroundings, keep valuables hidden out of sight when parking their vehicle, and report any suspicious activity to their local sheriff’s station.” 

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