SCV captain discusses station response times  

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies investigate a report of a theft at the Macy's at the Valencia Town Center. Oscar Sol/ For The Signal
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies investigate a report of a theft at the Macy's at the Valencia Town Center. Oscar Sol/ For The Signal

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station handles about 93,000 calls and self-generated activity per year — an average daily clip of nearly 255 — with staffing about 65% to 70% of its traditional level, according to recent comments by Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Justin Diez at a local event. 

While the station is a bit shorthanded in its numbers, the station’s reported response times have improved consistently between February and March, per data released from the local station. 

The times for nonroutine calls have grown and are something that Diez said he’d like to see improvement on, but he also mentioned some of the challenges and how the public can help keep the number of victims down. 

The previous three months indicate an average of about 5.6 minutes for emergency calls within city limits and an average of about 10.6 minutes for those calls in unincorporated areas, according to station data. 

Diez said in a May 16 phone interview the response-time goals are based on a 10-20-60 model, referring to a response time goal of 10 minutes for an emergency call, 20 minutes for a priority call and 60 minutes for “routine” calls. 

He said the response times vary month-to-month due to a variety of factors, describing the calls that range from a life-threatening emergency to a search for a suspect who was spotted, which would be a priority call, to a routine need, such as filing a crime report for a past incident.  

“Of course, I would like our routine response times to be down,” Diez said, looking at the data for April, the most recent month available. “But I’m very pleased that the emergency-response times are very low, as well as priority, we’re underneath our threshold.” 

In April, deputies’ response time to emergency calls was 5.4 minutes in city limits and 9.3 minutes for the unincorporated areas.  

Those times were 15.5 and 18.9 minutes, respectively, for priority calls. The routine times were 82.4 minutes in the city and 1 hour, 44 minutes in the county. 

The deputies’ response time in April was a more than 2-minute improvement on the average response time in February 2024 of 11.6 minutes for emergency calls to unincorporated areas, while the city’s time over that period was 5.4 minutes. 

Diez said a lot of factors can influence a single month’s numbers, and one incident, such as a lockdown or a containment, can tie up most of the station’s resources for an entire shift. That can push back response times significantly, which can take months to offset. 

In February 2022 for example, the average response time for emergency calls in the same area was eight minutes. 

The response times improved in March and April, according to the station’s data. 

The unincorporated areas include an expanse from Stevenson Ranch to Gorman along the Interstate 5 corridor, Diez said, and although there’s a resident deputy in the Gorman area, the station provides 24-7 coverage. 

“So if we get a call to Gorman or Neenach ... and we don’t have a resident deputy available, that certainly will blow out those response times,” Diez said.  

In recent months, Diez has mentioned several times the station is staffed at about 65% to 70% of its traditional level. Last year, L.A. County agreed to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to recruit for the Sheriff’s Department. 

“We do have shifts where, due to staffing, not every car is filled, and we equitably do that as best we can, sometimes it’ll be a county car, sometimes it’ll be a city car,” Diez said. “There are times when not all cars are filled, and certainly, that plays into it,” he said, referring to response times. 

The city’s deployment is also contractually higher, Diez said, referring to the number of cars required to be available in the city. The population density is also a factor, he said, adding there’s about three times the population in the city than the unincorporated county areas. 

He also mentioned recently that anyone who would like to volunteer at the station is more than welcome. 

The station had dozens of volunteers prior to the pandemic, he said, and while the regulations have been lifted that prevented a lot of in-person help, the volunteer numbers have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. He said there were fewer than 10 as of early May. 

Those interested in volunteering at the SCV Sheriff’s Station can contact Sgt. Bill Edson at 661-287-5732 or [email protected]. 

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