LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and city officials Monday spoke out against California’s plan to move state prisoners into local jails to relieve overcrowding.
“Sacramento is transferring more than 4,200 offenders to Los Angeles and not a single dollar to help with the burden,” Villaraigosa said.
KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports the “Public Safety Realignment Act” could have a big impact on the effectiveness of both the LAPD and City Hall.
L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel said the number of inmates will devastate local city budgets and communities.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that under the plan he will have to divert 150 officers from patrol duties to deal with probation supervision and compliance of released prisoners. It’s a move that could lead to an increase in emergency response time and an overall decrease in public safety.
“That’s the equivalent of half of one of our patrol divisions,” said Beck. “So 911 calls will take longer to answer, reports will take longer to write, and our system will suffer because of an unfunded mandate placed on us by the state.”
Police Chief Charlie Beck said losing those officers may mean an increase in emergency response time.
“We often talk about what would be the final straw that breaks the back of public safety. Well, I would put forward that this is not a straw, this is a load of hay,” Beck said.
L.A. City Councilman Mitch Englander said the police transfers were, “The equivalent of sending one of our officers out on the street with an empty gun.”
Governor Jerry Brown admits there will be some bumps in the road.
“Every year, 110,000 people enter our prisons and, every year, 110,000 people go out,” Brown said. “It’s a completely broken system that was mindlessly expanded without understanding the consequences that we’re now dealing with.”
Pressure is mounting for officials to Sacramento to find the money in the state’s dwindling coffers to help the cities meet the public safety demands through the final release dates in 2012.