WeHo City Council Will Consider Hiring an Outsider to Evaluate Policing Practices

The West Hollywood City Council will have on its Monday agenda several resolutions expressing support for what others are doing to address police violence against Black people. However, it also will consider a locally focused proposal to hire an independent expert on policing to evaluate public safety in West Hollywood and use of force policies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, with which the city contracts for law enforcement services.

The proposal is being brought forward by Council members John D’Amico and Lauren Meister. A memo explaining it calls out recent protests over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police officers and the recent shooting in Gardena of Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old Latino shot and killed by a Sheriff’s deputy on June 18.

The memo notes that, as a city that contracts with the county Sheriff’s Department rather than having its own law enforcement unit, West Hollywood has little ability to change the department’s policies. “However,” it says, “we can work with our partners at the West Hollywood Sheriff Station and Block by Block to promote local policing that is sensitive to the specific needs and values of the West Hollywood community.”

The memo also notes that the City Council at its June 15 meeting has asked the city’s Public Safety Department to develop recommendations for dealing with issues like conflict de-escalation and resolution. It also has asked that the city’s Public Safety Commission review the West Hollywood’s $20 million contract with the Sheriff’s Department. However, that contract already has been renewed for the 2020-21 fiscal year without the Public Safety Commission’s review.

The memo to the Council states that the city will share the findings of its independent examiner with the Public Safety Commission to solicit its comments. It also proposes that it be shared with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Sheriff’s Department and the California Contract Cities Association, as well as the city’s Human Services Commission, the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, and the Transgender Advisory Board to solicit their comments. It does not propose sharing the findings with the county’s Civilian Oversight Commission, whose investigations of certain practices by the Sheriff’s Department have led Sheriff Alex Villanueva to launch an investigation into

Sheriff Alex Villanueva on June 8 issued a statement about the Sheriff’s Department’s use of force policies. He said that all deputies are trained to intervene and stop other deputies from using excessive force and they are not allowed to use chokeholds, strangleholds or actions that could block the carotid artery. Villanueva also said officers must use all reasonable alternatives before using deadly force in making an arrest.

The item going before the Council does not specifically address complaints about Sheriff Villanueva’s management of the Sheriff’s Department, which include his re-hiring of deputies fired for domestic abuse and use of excessive force and his resistance to complying with a state law that requires that law enforcement agencies make public documents regarding the discipline of law enforcement officers. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that it has filed a lawsuit against Los Angele County, alleging that the Sheriff’s Department” has repeatedly refused to turn over public records, including those about deputies involved in misconduct or shootings.” WEHOville has also failed to get the Sheriff’s Department to comply with its requests for information about the 2014 killing of one innocent young man and the wounding of another by deputies at 939 Palm Ave. in West Hollywood.

Villanueva also has upset the family of Andres Guardado by putting a “security hold” on the coroner’s office’s report on Guardado’s death, saying the findings could influence the testimony of witnesses. And he has been criticized by the county’s Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission for not responding to subpoenas requesting information regarding COVID-19 infections in county jails.

The virtual City Council meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Monday and can be viewed on the city’s WeHo TV channel and on YouTube.

Members of the public who wish to comment on matters before the City Council can submit a comment using the form located at www.weho.org/councilagendas by no later than 4 p.m. on July 6. Comments received by then will be forwarded to the City Council and posted on the city’s website as part of the official meeting record.

Those who want to comment during the meeting by telephone are asked to email City Clerk Yvonne Quarker at yquarker@weho.org no later than 4 p.m. on July 6 to be added to the public speaker list for the meeting. That email should include your name, the phone number from which you will be calling, and which item on the Council’s agenda that you would like to speak on. The agenda can be found online.

Then dial-in to (669) 900-6833 ten minutes prior to the 5:30 p.m. start of the meeting. You will be placed on hold until it is your turn to speak. If asked, the meeting I.D number is 98612170433.

  1. We are going to PAY someone a LOT LOT LOT of money to tell us how the LASD treats people and polices WEHO? Save the money and just spend a night at City Hall with an open mic asking US! Stupidity just bleeds from every crack of City Hall.

  2. In 1992 a ballot measure to create a local law enforcement agency, WHPD, was narrowly defeated by by 5% of the vote. Perhaps it time to re-consider if we are still getting a good value for our $20 million that we spend on our contract with the Sheriff’s Department. Obviously simply increasing the Sheriff’s budget is not going to make the issue regarding the homeless go away. Major crime is not all that serious in West Hollywood; where else in LA County do you see people walking their dogs after 11 pm? We keep trying to solve our quality of life issues via the Sheriff’s Department and perhaps we need to question if we using the right tool.

    1. And the item is about reform. To see what is working and what is not working. To look at the interactions and determine when Sheriff’s deputies are most effective and when not. Cool Guy mentioned the City Manager’s comment about “hiring a retired police chief.” I appreciate the concern. That is absolutely not the intention of this item. Independent means unbiased – no conflict of interest. Also, not looking to spend $300k. Secondary research should not require that kind of money.

    2. Hmmmm lets see, Sierra Madre, Claremont, Pasadena, San Dimas, La Verne, Palos Verde, Malibu, Beverly Hills and lots more lol

  3. Why do they need to hire anyone? Except to validate their idiotic positions on the West Hollywood City Council. Like these political hacks know something.

    As for black lives matter, come on let’s start talking about white lives matter. Especially looking at the number of white young men that have been killed by sheriff’s deputies in West Hollywood.

    You don’t have to pay $300,000 to find that out.

    WEHOville supplies the facts. It is a news record of everything from the Los Angeles sheriff’s department to pay for play on the city council. To the racism that exist among the old white guys in West Hollywood. Details like Duran, Heilman, Meisterl, D’Amico taking $1000s from Ed Buck!

    And Wehoville is not opinion slanted so-called journalism, like the totally redundant Los Angeles Times which is nearly down to 35 pages a day with no advertising. The Chandler family must be turning over in there graves

  4. This amounts to hiring an area retired police chief to write a report saying that everything is fine and it will cost $300,000

  5. We need sensible reform, more education ,more training and greater community partnerships, not less police

  6. Sheriff Villnueva slow-walked body cams for his deputies, and now we learn that the LASDs who chased and killed #AndresGuardado also smashed 6-8 security cameras in the panicked aftermath of the shooting. This action bought them all the time they would need to source, obtain and plant a throw down gun on the corpse. It’s extremely difficult to think of any other reason to tamper so egregiously with evidence in the wake of a questionable officer-involved shooting. The teen was face down prone on the ground when he was shot 6-7 times in the back. Last week LASD spokesperson gave the LUDICROUS excuse that deputies were “looking for security cards” when they destroyed cameras. One wonders why the camera smashing continued after the first one or two cameras didn’t reveal memory cards, as if any fool would put a camera that allowed a burglar to run away with the footage so easily, or anyone who saw a cable running into the building would thing the footage would be stores inside a tiny camera housing.

    What’s clear is the killer cop Vega has a long history of accusations of evidence tampering and refusing cooperate with investigations, and now we also learn he has yet to give a statement or cooperate with this investigation. Villanueva in turn uses this refusal to say the case in ongoing so he has to put a hold on the autopsy report. He’s holding it long enough for Vega to get his story coordinated with the results and with his partner and responding officers, who no doubt witnesses or participated in the panicked camera-smashing.

    Keep in mind that since neither cop will talk to investigators yet and continue to hide behind cop union lawyers, this means the narrative about the teen having a gun is a complete fiction with no testimony but hearsay to back it at this point. Also know that the family cant see the body or hold a funeral yet.

  7. I’m sorry, has there been any problems with our Sheriffs? Total waste of money. These two council members want to look “woke”..so their wasting tax payers money on this. If we had rampant, on-going problems I could understand. We don’t. Vote them out.

  8. The policing in WH is too passive. Zero traffic enforcement and almost zero visibility.
    We do need police reform……we need MORE policing.

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