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County Eyes Private Security Patrols After LASD Cutbacks

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A suspension in overtime pay by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has led to a decrease in deputy patrol cars in some unincorporated areas, and now county officials are looking for a replacement.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports the Board of Supervisors has called for private security patrol services to fill in the gaps.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina made the suggestion after noting a 50 percent drop in Sheriff’s patrols in communities like those surrounding South and East Whittier, where they were cut from 12 cars per day to six.

More than 40 cities and other agencies pay the county for patrol services offered by the Sheriff’s Department — revenue that represents 17.6 percent of the department’s total $2.69 billion budget.

Molina and fellow Supervisor Don Knabe ordered Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka to study the costs of using private firms.

Steve Whitmore, spokesman for Sheriff Lee Baca, said the hiring of private firms to replace deputies would create more problems than it would solve.

“The difficulty with this is, do you have a more aggressive stance?” Whitmore said. “What originally was designed to solve a problem becomes a problem because they’re involved directly in a fluid situation that law enforcement has to come and contain.”

The Board of Supervisors also voted for an independent firm to be hired to conduct a forensic audit of the sheriff’s department budget.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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