Despite an uptick in crime, there will soon be fewer sheriff’s deputies patrolling West Hollywood.
In a controversial move, the city council voted to redirect funding to other public safety programs and that idea has gotten a mixed reaction with many people in the West Hollywood community.
Debate over the proposal went will into the night during this week’s city council meeting. Ultimately, the vote passed by a narrow margin of 3 to 2.
The West Hollywood City Council will try shifting money from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to pay for more unarmed “security ambassadors” to patrol the streets on foot.
City leaders continue to say community safety is a top priority, but they have different ideas on how to best protect people.
The city hopes to combat crime through its “Block by Block Security Ambassador Program.”
Unarmed personnel deployed on bicycles will monitor major streets, alleys, parking lots and neighborhoods, which the city says, “have a direct positive impact on safety and neighborhood livability.”
The plan includes foot patrols and fixed-post security guards at city facilities.
Many people who spoke to KTLA questioned this action given the recent climate of increased violent crime across Southern California.
The Sheriff’s Department said it was disappointed that four deputies could potentially be moved away from the city in the coming months, saying in a statement, “it appears outside activists had more weight than the residents of West Hollywood.”
The city plans to increase security ambassadors by 30 positions to perform foot patrols in residential neighborhoods, add one Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy to the Entertainment District Team and decrease the number of LASD deputies by two in the next 90 days.
Mayor Lauren Meister voted against the plan.
City staff will be tasked with reporting back to the City Council on crime trends to evaluate the security ambassador staffing in nine months before a decision is made to potentially cut three additional sheriff’s deputies.