LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Budget cuts and staffing shortages in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have slowed emergency response times in unincorporated areas, according to reports.
A report from LA County CEO Bill Fujioka (PDF) dated May 20, 2014, addressed to the Board of Supervisors found residents in the Crescenta Valley who called 911 waited up to 10 minutes for deputies to arrive, the Daily News reported.
KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports emergency response times had also slowed for Sheriff’s stations in Marina del Rey, Malibu/Lost Hills, Compton, Carson, West Hollywood, San Dimas, Walnut, and Pico Rivera.
Response times were slower in those unincorporated areas than in surrounding “contract cities” which pay the Sheriff’s Department to provide law enforcement services, the Daily News reported.
Among the report’s findings: deputies take an average of 90 minutes to respond to routine non-emergency calls at the Palmdale and Lancaster Sheriff’s stations.
Sheriff’s Lt. Brian Moriguchi, who is also president of the Professional Peace Officer’s Association, said the report’s findings are a major concern.
“They will often take the deputies assigned to the unincorporated areas and assign them to those contract cities in order to meet those contracts,” Moriguchi said.
The study specifically compared the service levels of unincorporated patrol between 2010 – when countywide unincorporated areas were hit by budget and personnel cuts – and 2013.
In response to the study, Sheriff’s Department officials said they will continue reviewing how they deliver service to unincorporated areas as the Board of Supervisors considers hiring 150 deputies over the next two years.
More than 65 percent of LA County is classified as unincorporated, with approximately 1 million residents living in those areas, according to the county’s website.