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Sheriff Candidate Questionnaire: Britta Steinbrenner

  • LAist sent all candidates for L.A. County sheriff the following questionnaire. Below are the responses from candidate Eli Vera, an L.A. Sheriff's Commander. Their responses have been published in full, without any editing.

  • We also have a full overview of the sheriff’s race.

Britta Steinbrenner
Sheriff's Capt. Britta Steinbrenner.
(Courtesy Steinbrenner for Sheriff)

What do you think is the number one thing that needs to change at the Sheriff’s Department and how would you change it? 

As Sheriff I plan to address all crime increases head on through tangible and trackable methods and change our response in how we are handling these crime increases. Crime rates are up, especially violent crimes including: Homicides, Robberies, Assaults and Hate Crimes. I created a policy on how I will address these increases in crime that includes a multi-pronged approach consisting of:

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1.) Improve and implement New Sheriff’s Department tactics by creating regional task forces in the north, south, east, and central patrol divisions to target high crime areas, to include smash and grabs and monitoring crime trends.

2.) Develop new and improved partnerships with the business community. Create Business Watch districts in retail business corridors and manufacturing areas and hosting monthly town hall meetings.

3.) Expand Community partnerships and work more closely with the residents we serve.Create new positions known as Community Liaison Deputies who will work directly with neighborhood organizations to better represent the department.

4.) Create a Hate Crime Task Force to combat Hate Crimes affecting all ethnicities and the LGBTQIA+ communities.

Sheriff Candidate Britta Steinbrenner Talks About Her Candidacy

5.) Implement external strategies and efforts to change and modify portions of Propositions 47 & 57.I am committed to working with the State Legislature to draft the changes needed to both Proposition 47 and 57 to help reduce crime.

6.) Create a Social Media Page for businesses to be informed on crime trends directly affecting businesses. This platform can also be used by business community members to communicate and share information locally.

As Sheriff, I will work with elected officials, the business community and the public to protect the residents that we serve. I want to work with the District Attorney to make sure these criminals are prosecuted. In times like this, leaders need to lead, and given the opportunity I will lead us in this fight.

Do you think the department needs more deputies? If so, why, and how many more? 

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The Department is in dire need of more qualified and committed personnel who view this as a career and not just a job. New candidates must recognize that we are public servants and must be committed to help the community we serve.

In order to conduct an accurate assessment of how many deputies are needed and the ‘why' justification, I will conduct a thorough audit of our current personnel to determine factual staffing needs, true vacancies and the number of Deputy Sheriff Academies needed to keep up with our annual attrition rates, contract needs and expansion.

Currently we are approved by the Board of Supervisor to conduct four academies a year. Each academy has a 20% attrition rate wherein the recruit does not graduate, so this number must be added to address current needs.

As of March 27, 2022, the Sheriff’s Department is budgeted for 8,271 deputies with 603 current deputy vacancies. Past administrations have always kept 300 deputy positions vacant to help balance the books and provide funding for overtime expenses. The current sheriff did away with this salary saving model for reasons unknown but has proven to be cost effective during past administrations.

Given the current staff and retirement trends under the current Sheriff, we need anywhere from 6 to 8 academies a year, graduating at least 70 recruits per class to maintain our staffing levels not including any contract expansions or specialized units.

Increasing academies under the current Sheriff is unlikely because he does not provide true numbers of personnel as he is not forthcoming with his calculations and has destroyed any and all relationships with the Board of Supervisors who oversees our budget. All Departments submit budgets and justify needs by doing so. The current Sheriff refuses to do so.

How would you address the rise in the number of murders in areas patrolled by the Sheriff’s Department, which has seen a much higher increase than in areas patrolled by the LAPD?

This question highlights my ability to address these increases in crime with special emphasis on the increase of homicides rates by implementing my policy’s multi-pronged solution on addressing crime at each of the 23 Sheriff’s patrol stations. This will include:

  • Monitoring and tracking the increases in homicides and the crime trends associated, conducting research to target high crime areas and providing monthly reports and publications of statistics as it affects each station. The community needs to be kept in the loop on their safety and what is being done by the Sheriff’s Department to protect them.
  • I will expand Business Districts and Neighborhood Watch Programs and add 1-800 phone number to report increased criminal activity.
  • I will create Regional Task Forces in the North, South, East, and Central Patrol Divisions to target high crime areas.
  • I will create dedicated patrol missions based on crime trend statistics and activities (drug dealing, mob criminal and cartel activities).
  • Staff a Special Assignment team at each patrol station to handle uptick in crime areas and conduct saturation patrols as needed by area.
  • Ensure each station detective team is conducting their investigations promptly and diligently.
  • Direct station Commanders to conduct weekly meetings with patrol Station taskforces where crime rates are increasing and creating an action plan.
  • Station Commanders will conduct weekly Zoom meetings with the city's elected officials to discuss these trends, how they are being addressed and what support is needed for their city.
  • Station captains will have their finger on the pulse and interact with their communities and business owners. They will also meet with their neighborhooding cities and police agencies to partner with any increases in crime.
  • Provide updates for deputies on the latest crime trends and improvements on investigative skill sets.
  • Patrol units will conduct high visibility patrol checks and saturation patrols in the problematic areas while interacting with the residents and business owners. Patrol units need to be seen to help deter crime.
  • Organize volunteers and patrol programs to be the eyes and ears for their community.
  • Expand Social media coverage to keep residents in the loop and ask for their participation and ideas in keeping their community safe.

Information sharing is extremely important. The Crime analysts will monitor crime trends and watch commanders will liaison and share information with their neighboring agencies to work in conjunction to help solve crime sprees affecting their cities.

What role should the Sheriff’s Department play in addressing homelessness? 

The Homeless Crisis is viewed by some as an enforcement problem when in actuality it is a societal problem that has been overlooked for way too long. In 2020, there were over 66,000 individuals experiencing homelessness, and of these numbers 25% suffered from serious mental illness, 27% suffered from substance or alcohol abuse.

Given the existing court orders and County of Los Angeles and City of Los Angeles existing policies the powers of the Sheriff Department are limited. As Sheriff, I recognize my authority is limited, so I must focus on what I can do to help become part of the solution until the Courts, State, County and Municipal Governments work together to provide policy that has meaningful effects on this crisis.

We must work towards reducing the numbers of those living on the streets beyond housing, especially as it relates to those who refuse to be housed because they suffer from Mental Illness or Substance Abuse. Many who suffer from Drug and Alcohol Addiction do not want to live in a place where drug or alcohol testing is a requirement to reside. Many are provided housing but often leave these premises quickly because of their dependency to use drugs or alcohol.

What can I do within my authority as Sheriff to effect change?

1.) I want to contribute and have a positive impact on our homeless services needed to reduce recidivism that exists amongst this population.

2.) We must require a series of treatment steps and provide life skill training to those who suffer from these illnesses while they are in county custody.

3.) I will seek Homeless Professional Staffing support for each Patrol Station from the County Board of Supervisors to work in conjunction with our Department to assist us on need based calls from the public that relates to the Homeless population.

4.) Expand Mental Evaluation Teams to 24/7 days a week availability who respond to Homeless incident calls to evaluate and provide population as it pertains to those individuals who are incarcerated.

5.) I will work with The Board of Supervisors to convert existing County Facilities to Humane Mental Illness and Substance Abuse and Hospital Clinics to house those within the Homeless Population that commit crimes.

6.) These locations will have complete wrap around services to treat these individuals while they are in custody.

7.) These locations will be staffed by Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Treatment Professionals and County Public Services Professionals to provide the care and follow up treatment options for housing,medical treatment and transportation when necessary.

Support Legislation for Conservatorship of Mentally Ill Homeless Individuals

I have met with a number of Homeless Advocates who support court ordered Conservatorships for those on the streets who suffer from severe Mental Illness and simply cannot take care of themselves. I support this effort to help those that cannot help themselves. I will advocate toward this as a viable humane solution to help individuals in need who live on the streets by:

1.) I will create a Mental Illness Report tracking system where deputies take incident reports from citizens. Deputies will document via a Mental Illness Incident Report when they witness activities by Mentally Ill homeless individuals that warrants a potential Conservatorship review by a Judge or the District Attorney for the individual's safety or the public's safety.

2.) The same mental Illness Reports can and will be used when these individuals commit a crime to assist the District Attorney and Judges overseeing these cases to better recommend and rule on these cases.

3.) As Sheriff, I will work with the State Legislature, County Board of Supervisors, other Local Elected Officials, and the community at large to advocate for a conservatorship option.

I stand for truly making a positive contribution to society by helping the unhoused within my authority as Sheriff. The current grandstanding of Homeless Sweeps by Sheriff Villenueva has been a failure. These highly publicized events in Venice Beach and other parts of Los Angeles have only worked for short periods of time and the Homeless Encampments returned after the Sheriff and cameras left.

I am committed to having a positive impact through compassion for the Homeless by taking action that truly helps these individuals.

Do you believe secretive deputy subgroups or “gangs” exist inside the Sheriff’s Department and if so do you think they are a problem? How would you address this issue?

We must create an environment wherein everyone feels safe, secure and welcomed in the communities where they live and work. I will do everything in my power to bring and uphold a standard of excellence in law enforcement and bring us all together. Under my leadership we will be known for Community Policing, Not Deputy Gangs.

One of my top priorities as Sheriff is to eliminate deputy gangs.The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), has a history of Deputy Gangs or cliques dating back to the early 1970’s. These affiliations cast shadows over the department; allegations of rogue behavior i.e., intentional deputy-involved shootings, harassment of non-clique members, peer pressure, have been documented for years. Each previous administration, including the current one, has refused to address and implement a corrective action plan. I authored my Deputy gangs policy which was posted on my website as well as several other of my policies for accountability and to substantiate my candidacy.

Deputy gangs and their negative impact on the communities we are sworn to protect and serve has also impacted fellow deputies who have shunned this brand of policing and do their job professionally. Under my administration I want our department to be known for Community Policing, not Deputy Gangs.

I recognize that we cannot stop Deputies from congregating in their free time, but if they are participating in criminal activity on or off the job, they should be prosecuted and will be prosecuted under my command.

My objective is simple: eliminate the deputy gangs within LASD and it will start by providing academy training on the negative impacts these gangs and or cliques have internally within the Department and Externally with the public we serve. This must be rooted in all new Deputy Training going forward.

We will provide a reporting method to non uniformed Internal Affairs personnel to separate the current image with the public of “Nothing will be done by fellow deputies.” In addition we will provide training for the line personnel, hold supervisors accountable and continually monitor the workplace to identify signs of negative behavior towards the public and amongst fellow deputies. The current Sheriff refuses to act on this and I, as Sheriff will.

As Sheriff, I will make concerted efforts to curb and eliminate negative cultural behavior relating to deputy gangs. Based on the Rand and Loyola Law School reports, there are three stations that were identified where deputy gangs exert their influence, alongside the problematic Custody Division (jails):

Patrol: Compton (CPT), East Los Angeles (ELA), and Century (CEN, formerly known as Lynwood/LYN).

Custody Division: Men’s Central Jail (MCJ), Twin Towers Correctional Facility (TTCF) and North County Correctional Facility (NCCF)

I will rebuild problematic stations with negative histories. Each rebuilt station will be environmentally and community friendly. These locations will have a community center, public amphitheater, athletic fields, exercise equipment, exercise tracks and house after school programs to unite the community and our station personnel.

My Commitment to Reform

Deputy Rotation

The length of time any personnel will be assigned to one specific station or custody facility will be monitored and recommended movement will take place every 3 to 5 years to avoid complacency or territorial control over any one shift or position.

Improved Supervisory Accountability

Leadership and supervisory oversight is essential. I will hold respective unit / facility commanders responsible and accountable for any negative behavior occurring under their command: either unlawful or policy violations.

Proactive Training

Training opens the door to learning and becoming better employees for all ranks and positions. I will implement yearly mandatory training courses. Upon the employee’s completion of each course, a documented signature of acknowledgment shall be required with date and training supervisor for accountability. Ranks include civilians, and sworn through the rank of Commander.

● Academy recruits shall receive training in the academy to identify, understand, and know the proper actions to take if encountered by Deputy Gangs. Training Officers shall receive training to recognize early signs of hazing and gang like activity. Supervisors shall receive initial training in their supervisors field operations school before promotion to their new rank. Regardless of the rank, ongoing training will be a priority throughout their career with the Department.

● “Deputy Cliques” and cultural awareness training shall be included during facility briefings.

● “Lessons Learned Briefs” will occur regularly, where department members will discuss previous examples where discipline was given to problem deputies. These will be implemented to help department members learn from past mistakes and understand the consequences of poor decision making.

Disciplinary Action Changes

Employees will be held accountable for any misconduct. Gang or Clique activity will be monitored and swiftly addressed. Discipline ranging from written reprimand, remedial training and termination will be considered and applied based upon the level of the offense. Termination of problem Deputies will exist under my command.

Review and Change the Internal Investigation Process

The LASD has been repeatedly criticized regarding the investigations conducted by department members, on department members. Presently the Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) conducts administrative investigations involving LASD manual and policy procedures section violations. We have been accused of not initiating investigations, extending favoritism, executives putting pressure on unit commanders to not approve investigations, or investigations ending up as “Unfounded”. My new actions will include:

● Creating positions for certified and trained civilian personnel to review cases and make disciplinary recommendations.

● Reviewing the entire investigative process when elected.

● Supporting post investigation reviews by the Civilian Oversight Commission (or other outside agencies).

 My Pledge as Sheriff to our Fellow Deputies

As Sheriff, I realize the importance of having a work environment free of hazing, or unwanted negative behavior from peers or supervisors. I understand that in today’s society, the duties of a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff are stressful and more challenging than ever. In order to be the best Sheriff’s Department in the Nation we must rise to a higher professional standard. I am committed to leading us to that standard.

My Pledge as Sheriff to the Communities We Serve

I recognize the history and negative impact deputy gangs and cliques have had on the communities we serve. We are sworn to protect you and I will take action on rogue Deputies who tarnish our reputation.

I am committed to providing quality service, quick response times and compassion to the communities we are entrusted to serve when responding to calls for service and our daily interaction with the public.

Do you support responding to calls involving people who appear to have mental health issues or are otherwise acting erratically with unarmed clinicians instead of deputies? How would you improve how the department deals with people with mental illnesses, absent an increase in funding from the Board of Supervisors?

As it relates to part one of this question I am concerned that things may go wrong with unarmed clinicians responding to potential mentally ill aggressive calls where their safety is at risk. The Department has the Mental Evaluation Teams consisting of 2 personnel, a deputy and a nurse clinician who respond. Unfortunately these teams are limited and not always available.

I will work to increase these teams by assigning 4 teams to each patrol region day and p.m shifts to respond for these types of calls or take over the call once they arrive at the call locations. I will work with the Board of Supervisors to see these teams increase.

I will expand the Sheriff’s Department Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) that will respond to non-crime related calls. The CIT will work with County partners to provide services for the homeless and the mentally ill with the support needed which includes medical & dental care, housing, counseling, and other wrap-around services.

I will expand our Mental Evaluation Teams for field responses and develop a system to work in conjunction with our County Social Workers, County Nurses, Mental Health Care Workers and Non Profit partners to work with our department.

Do you think the department needs to change how and when deputies conduct traffic stops? What about bicycle stops? 

The Sheriff’ Department’s approach to conducting both traffic and bicycle stops needs to be revised, modernized and in accordance with our community policing policy that I will implement once elected. The State Legislature is currently reviewing laws as it pertains to these pretext stops and I support a correction in this matter.

Deputies at all times must be professional, identify themselves and state the reason for their contact. They need to have their body worn cameras activated at all times. They have to know why they are affecting a stop, the legality, violation of offense and not just to profile an individual or hope to find a probable cause for their stop once engaged in conversation. Their traffic or bicycle stops have to be logged or called in over the radio.

Based upon the demographics of the County, more Sheriff's personnel with diverse backgrounds will be assigned to stations in order to allow the community to better relate with the deputies patrolling their communities.

A supervisor shall be called if any issues arise. Supervisors also need to check their deputies' daily logs to review their level of activities and to identify any trend that may arise with targeting or profiling certain individuals.

Complaints received need to be addressed and follow ups with options such as more training with the deputy and the outcome shared with the complaint which many of times is impersonal with only a prescription letter mailed out with the outcome.

Cultural Awareness and perception Training is always paramount in these types of situations and will be provided for all patrol personnel

These protocols need to be in place regardless of the city being patrolled.

Do you think there is a way to reduce deputy-involved shootings and, if so, how?

Training is a key issue with our Department that is often minimized due to budget shortfalls or staffing issues. As Sheriff, weapons training, quarterly scored qualifications and retention will be a key component moved to the forefront of my top priorities to improve our Department and the capabilities of my personnel.

In order to reduce Deputy involved shootings the Department must expand our “Shoot don't Shoot'' scenario training. The lack of practical applications such as role playing and increased shooting qualifications are key components contributing to the high number of deputy-involved shootings the department is experiencing. More training in mock scenarios allows for Deputies to have better ability to think through high intensity situations.

In addition, now that body-worn cameras are mandatory in the field, the Department will become more transparent in all use of force cases to include Deputy-involved shootings.

Currently we receive basic weapons training in the academy. Upon graduation followup weapons training becomes scarce based upon where assigned in patrol or in an administrative capacity. Once elected Sheriff, I will be implementing additional mandatory training. My directives will be as follows:

● Monthly duty weapon qualifications - required for patrol personnel.

● Monthly Lessons learned briefings and training videos produced on completed shooting investigations.

● Annual qualification on Less Lethal weaponry.

● Annual Role playing scenario training (at range or in 3D virtual simulator)

● Annual written exam on use of force and weapon retention policies.

● Annual weapons training.

Six years ago, the Sheriff’s Department signed an agreement with the federal government to improve conditions for jail inmates. But a recent monitor’s report found inmates with serious mental illnesses continue to suffer in isolation and with little treatment. The monitor also said cells were overflowing with garbage, and filth was spread on the walls, with a pile of razors abandoned in one hallway. How would you fix these problems?

The current leadership has not prioritized the improvements of the jail conditions nor any steps towards the successful implementation of mental health services to those we come into contact with. This is a failure that I will rectify if elected.

Six years ago the number of mentally ill inmates housed in the Sheriff's Department custody facilities was at 3,500 and now in 2022 those numbers have increased to 6,400. The Sheriff’s Department and Department of Health Services budget, staffing and available resources are under budgeted. I will seek additional funding to improve space needs, janitorial services and additional Mental Health Staffing in the County Jail System.

The Civilian Oversight Commission is the Department's checks and balances and watchdog to ensure the Department’s compliance with all state mandates especially as it relates to inmates in our custody. The lack of participation and unwillingness to comply with our current Civilian Oversight Commission is a complete dereliction of duty. who refuses to make our custody facility a number one priority as it has been under previous administrations. I will address the consent decree by implementing its recommendations.

Additional solutions that I plan to employ:

● Conduct an audit of all personnel to ensure the proper staffing levels at each of the jails in order to properly manage the necessary changes in the consent decree.

● Conduct a budget analysis and forecast of past, present and future expenses, working with the Board of Supervisors to provide additional funding once justification of the Department’s expenditures are compiled as they relate to the County Jail System.

● Assess the inmate population at all 7 jails as many of our facilities reduce overcrowding.

● Ensure inmate housekeeping and janitorial services are provided in all jails facilities for a.m and p.m shifts daily.

● Look at alternatives to incarceration solutions such as:

Expanding the step down programs

Inmate Reentry programs with nonprofit and community organization partners, to house low level offenders.

Early release program with or without electronic monitoring capabilities

● Tearing down Men’s Central Jail and rebuilding a state of the art facility to accommodate an adequate inmate population and separate housing for metnally ill inmate populations.

● Look at upgrading the technology and software to include video programming and new technology to document safety checks and the facilities cleanliness.

Personal Knowledge and Understanding of Jail Operations:

● I as Sheriff need to be fully immersed and understand all aspects of the jails and each facility's operational procedures and budget.

● Captains of each Jail Facility will take command of their jails. Each captain will be trained in all aspects of jail operations to include the budget, overtime expenditures, inmate medical care and all jail operations.

● Supervisors need to supervise and will be well versed in both consent decrees and what is occurring in their area of responsibility, their employees and the needs of the inmates.

● Work with the Department of Health Services Management Teamto address better staffing needs of all County Jail Facilities.

● Working with the Civilian Oversight Commission to ensure compliance of consent decrees and Oversight Commission recommendations.

● Review the Department's custody manual and ensure all procedures are updated to include facility cleanliness and inmate care are standardized.

Overall we need to change the mindset of all personnel working the jails that amongst our duties is not just to oversee custody, but in addition provide quality care for the inmates.

Why do you think Black people are arrested by the police at three times their share of the population? Does the department have a role in addressing this?

The Sheriff’s Department has policy and procedures in place to guard against any type of profiling. These statistics clearly show a problem exists given the population of African Americans that reside in Los Angeles County alone.

The Profiling of any individual based on the color of their skin is unacceptable. Any Deputy engaging in such practices will not be tolerated and will be disciplined accordingly. This is where community policing, the cornerstone of my campaign and term, will be instrumental in ensuring innocent individuals are not harassed or targeted by Deputies.

I will order a complete audit of arrests made by each Patrol Station in order to directly investigate any anomalies in arrests of any ethnic race. Once these numbers are analyzed, I will address any and all failures in justifications for high arrests of African Americans or any other ethnic minorities. Any unusually high numbers of arrests in comparison to high crime areas versus population will be addressed.

How would you approach your relationship with the Board of Supervisors?

I am committed to rebuilding and maintaining professional relationships with the Board of Supervisors and Civilian Oversight Commission to change the culture of the Sheriff’s Department and our image as we move forward into 2022 by:

● I will create a professional working relationship with the Board of Supervisors and the Civilian Oversight Commission.

● Every County Supervisors will have my personal cell phone number.

● I will take ownership of our department and not blame the Board of Supervisors or the Civilian Oversight Commission for the problems that are my responsibility.

● I will maintain a relationship of mutual respect for all County Officials in order for our Government to function with the interest of the Public we serve.

Will you comply with all subpoenas and requests for records issued by the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission and Inspector General? 

Yes, Absolutely. I view the Civilian Oversight Commission as a check and balance system that provides oversight and guidance for the Department.

● Create a task force with the office of the inspector general, Civilian Oversight Commission and include community partners for example: university professors, attorneys, those with a criminal justice background and/or those with legal professional backgrounds.

● I will testify when called upon and am committed to bringing transparency back to the department.

What will you do to improve transparency at the Sheriff’s Department?  Specifically, how would you make the department more responsive to Public Records Act requests under Senate Bill 1421, which requires law enforcement agencies to release information about deputies who were involved in shootings and serious uses of force, and/or were found to have lied or committed sexual misconduct on the job?

As Sheriff I will ensure that all of our actions and policies will be conducted with transparency. A Community Policing mindset will guide our actions and interaction with the residents we serve.

Under my command the blaming of others for our mistakes or hiding the truth will no longer be the standard like our current Sheriff.

The Department has the obligation to comply with the mandate of the Public Records Act. The Public Records Act will be respected and carried out by the Sheriff's Department under my watch.

● Persons requesting documentation will submit their requests according to the prescribed protocols.

● Information on how to request records and information will be easily accessible on the Sheriff’s Department website. Questions will be answered via chat, email or telephonically.

● The Risk Management Bureau will have sufficient staffing to review each request as it is submitted.

● Once reviewed and approved the documentation as long as legally permissible will be released in a timely manner.

The Sheriff's Department will no longer hide probamelantic employees. True transparency is the key to reform.

Will you enforce the county’s vaccine mandate with deputies? There’s a lot of resistance in the department to vaccination; what steps would you take to get more deputies vaccinated?

As Sheriff it is my responsibility to not only look out for our Deputies and Civilian staff, but also the wellbeing of the public we serve. As first responders we are required to be vaccinated and I will continue to enforce this mandate as it is my duty. The delivery on how this message is conveyed to our membership is important.

My responsibility is to create policy, procedures and clearly stated consequences for failing to comply with the County or state mandated vaccination policy and most importantly comply with Court Case Rulings as challenges are brought forth by individuals and groups.

I recognize as Sheriff I will be challenged to make uncomfortable decisions especially as it pertains to liability issues for the LASD and protection of Department Staff. Although many Deputies view the Covid vaccine policy as a personal choice issue, it actually is a public health and public employee liability issue. The liability issues if we do not comply with this mandate are overlooked.

The County mandates that public employees must now be vaccinated and as this decision is being challenged by individuals and groups in court, the legal and financial liability it presents to the Department, County of Los Angeles and the public we serve are real.

Just as we look at it from numerous sides such as the liability incurred when arresting suspects and criminals, we must look similarly at encountering the public and passing COVID to others or contracting Covid ourselves. Our job requires us to work closely in patrol cars, administrative offices and in the jails. Not a single deputy I know wants to contract or pass this highly contagious virus to other deputies, our families or other members of the public. LASD members who are not vaccinated risk not just themselves, but all we come in contact with.

As first responders we must protect our health so that we are able to help others. The concept behind the vaccine is to slow and build up one’s immune system to fend off the virus and if you do catch it, you will most likely have a milder case and not overflow our hospital system.

Although now retired, as the former Captain of the County Services Bureau I saw on a personal level the impact of the unvaccinated public that have overwhelmed our County Hospitals. My personal interaction with nurses and doctors have further exhausted and exacerbated an already overworked healthcare workforce. The mental toll on our health care and frontline workers cannot be overlooked. In addition, other members of the public have had to wait to have critical surgeries and procedures delayed, thus risking the public health because too many people still remain unvaccinated.

In regards to the potential loss of sworn deputies because of their personal choice to not be vaccinated, I respect their personal choice but this is a job requirement as a public servant unless court rulings say otherwise.

The challenges in working in-law enforcement and public safety during Covid and getting deputies to understand the difference between personal choice and public responsibility is a challenge. As Sheriff I will do my part and encourage my personnel to be vaccinated.

Do you support the recall of District Attorney George Gascón? If so, why?

Yes, I would support the recall of the DA, because I believe those who commit heinous crimes and are career criminals should not be out on the streets and in the interest of Public Safety.

Recently George Gascon has begun revisiting some of his earlier positions. This is encouraging and I am willing to work with him to effect positive change if he continues down this path.

Conceivable the DA could still be in office by the time I am elected. If so, as Sheriff it is my obligation to forge a relationship and use diplomacy to effect change. I will develop a working relationship with the District Attorney’s office to address Jail and sentencing reform for Nonviolent Crimes. Part of my Jail Reform plan is to take existing County facilities and build Mental Health Clinics and Drug/Alcohol Treatment facilities. I support these reforms as does District Attorney George Gascon.

It is imperative that the District Attorney's Office, The Court System and The Sheriff’s Department work hand in hand to reform the current state of our County Jail System to build a more humane and rehabilitative system. I am open to working together with any District Attorney that supports these changes.

Learn about the rest of the candidates in our guide to the sheriff’s race.

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