By CBSLA Staff

LA VERNE (CBSLA) – Drivers in La Verne honked in support of residents protesting the potential placement of violent juvenile offenders at Camps Paige and Afflerbaugh, two county detention centers in the neighborhood, which currently house low-level offenders.

Camps Paige and Afflerbaugh, located in La Verne, currently house low-level juvenile offenders. (credit: CBS)

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“It’s just not appropriate here at all. The bottom of the camps and edges of the camps are less than 500 feet away from peoples’ homes,” La Verne resident Cynthia Gabaldon said.

Another resident, Dania Beauchamps concurred, and that the facilities might also not be ready with evacuation plans in the high-fire risk area.

“This is a high-fire hazard area. So, what is gonna be the protocol should a fire breakout? What evacuation plans are there if there is an escape and how is that going to be handled?” she said.

Dozens of residents held signs up near Foothill Boulevard and D Street that read “Keep La Verne Safe.”

Under Senate Bill 823, juveniles convicted of murder, arson and other serious crimes could be relocated from state prisons to county facilities, as part of the so-called “Youth Justice Reimagined” program to rehabilitate troubled youth in a less prison-like environment.

County probationary officials said communities across the state are grappling with how to house the young inmates, and that facilities near Lancaster, Sylmar, Downey and Malibu are also being considered.

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La Verne’s Mayor Tim Hepburn said the area where the current detention centers are has changed dramatically over the years.

“When these things were built, there was nothing but farmland and citrus. We’re not a built up community with thousands of residents, children, schools, parks. It’s unacceptable. I want the county pull this off the plate,” the mayor said.

Ultimately, a committee will make a recommendation to the LA County Board of Supervisors as to where the violent juvenile offenders will be housed. The Board will then vote on a final decision.

Residents said issues of safety not only affect them, but the juvenile inmates as well.

“This is we the people and we need to be talked to, we need to be heard,” Gabaldon said.

In a statement, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents said that no decision has been made as of yet, and that a committee is still evaluating possible sites.

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Barger also encouraged residents to voice their concerns at a virtual town hall meeting being held on December 21.