City Hears From Residents Supporting Sheriff’s Dept.

Capt. Todd Deeds

A number of La Cañada Flintridge community members have voiced opposition to a recent petition calling for the termination of the city’s contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
As of its meeting Monday, the City Council had received more than 100 emails from residents in support of the department’s local presence. Many of the messages, which were posted on the city’s website but not read aloud during the meeting, opposed a petition written by La Cañada BLM that called on the city to dissolve its relationship with the law enforcement agency.
“It would be a public safety calamity to terminate our contract with LASD for policing services, or to reduce the amount of funding currently dedicated to policing in our city,” wrote Sean Carney, a prosecutor from LCF. “There are numerous public safety concerns that cannot be adequately addressed by the police alternatives currently being urged on the [council]/commission.”
La Cañada BLM has organized weekly protests in LCF, and its members recently flooded the Public Safety Commission and City Council with emails in support of the petition, citing civil rights abuse allegations against the Sheriff’s Department.
A few supporters of the group, which is not officially affiliated with the larger Black Lives Matter organization, also emailed council members for the Monday meeting.
“Because I have witnessed the existence of white supremacy in La Cañada-Flintridge … I am demanding that the city reallocate at least a portion of funds [for the Sheriff’s Department] to community-based organizations,” wrote Calista Schloessmann.
“The recently formed La Cañada Black Lives Matter movement is an example of an organization that needs funding so that it may expand its influence on residents and collaborate with the supporters of communities of color to establish a higher standard of inclusivity and equality within the greater La Cañada-Flintridge community.”
The city budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year increases funding for the department by nearly $150,000, not including liability insurance and overtime.
It was funding many of the residents seemed to support, as several of the comments said they wanted more patrolling of their streets.
“Why would anyone with any common sense think of defunding the Sheriff’s that so ably police the city?” wrote residents Debby and Colin Mahoney. “In fact, we feel that we should put MORE money into the Sheriff’s budget for more cars on the streets of the city.
“Please do not let a SMALL percentage of the people in LCF, if these folks truly even live in the city, affect your decisions.”
Those who emailed the council varied in their assessment of La Cañada BLM supporters, with some acknowledging their complaints of police brutality and racism, saying that law enforcement should receive both better training and additional funding. Others dismissed the group, saying its claims are an overreaction.
“I understand the BLM movement and their outrage against certain members of the police force and their actions,” wrote residents Alice and David Yun. “BUT I do OPPOSE demands from the La Cañada BLM to terminate La Cañada’s contact with LASD. Even with their presence, La Cañada has always been a target for burglars. Without their presence I worry what will happen in our quiet little town.”
Council members did not address the comments in depth during Monday’s meeting, as they did not regard them as an agenda item, though Councilman Jonathan Curtis mentioned them briefly.
“All of these public comments have been taken into account and I think we greatly appreciate everyone that’s taken the time to provide those public comments,” he said. “I didn’t want to have that go unnoticed or ignored in some fashion, it’s just that we’re limited on what we can do as far as the public comment other than taking it to account.”

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