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West Hollywood slammed for DEFUNDING sheriff's dept amid crime wave and spending on RUSSIAN festival

The funds saved by reducing the number of officers will be reallocated to pay for unarmed "security ambassadors"
UPDATED JUN 29, 2022
LA sheriff's deputies keep watch at the South Los Angeles Sheriffs' station on September 1, 2020, in Los Angeles, California (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
LA sheriff's deputies keep watch at the South Los Angeles Sheriffs' station on September 1, 2020, in Los Angeles, California (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

West Hollywood's city council was slammed after it voted on Monday, June 27, to defund their sheriff's department despite crime surging 137 percent this spring from last year.

The controversial proposal will result in reducing the current LASD force of around 60 sheriff's deputies by four. The funds saved by reducing the number of officers will be reallocated to pay for unarmed "security ambassadors" as part of a scheme called 'Block By Block.' Meanwhile, the council has agreed to increase funding for a Russian arts festival, increasing the city's contribution by $14,000 to $50,000.


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West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister, who is a member of the council and voted against the plan, called the decision illogical considering the Los Angeles enclave is facing an unprecedented crime wave.

"I'm not going to vote for the budget if we cut the sheriff's (funds)," Meister said, as quoted by local news outlet WeHoVille. "First of all, nobody has the gun problem that we have in this country. You can't expect us to have a public safety team where most of the people aren't armed in order to defend our citizens," she explained. Meister was joined by fellow councilman John M Erickson in voting against the plan. "Community safety is our number one concern," he told Fox News. "When I've heard from countless residents about how they want to feel safer, that involves comprehensive planning and something that is not just drawn out over a decision."

Los Angeles County sheriff's vehicle that advertises for recruits is parked in the parking lot of the Maywood police department as sheriff's deputies make plans to take over the facility on June 23, 2010, in Maywood, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Nonetheless, the proposal was passed with three votes to their two. Councilwoman Sepi Shyne, who proposed the plan, said the sheriffs cost a lot and that the Block by Block program was more of a "bang for the buck." She continued, "What we know now is our residents want foot patrols. We need to be fiscally responsible. And we have all talked for two years. Reimagining policing means reallocating funding. You can't just say it without actually doing it. Period."

John D'Amico, who voted with Shyne for the plan, claimed the move will see more people patrolling the street. "In my mind, this is an increase of safety services with 60 additional eyes on the street working directly with the residents and the sheriff and code compliance and our social services providers - and two fewer deputies this fall," he told Fox News. 


According to the Daily Mail, the West Hollywood Sheriff's Station polices the City of West Hollywood and the unincorporated communities of Franklin Canyon, Universal City - which includes Universal Theme Park, Studios, and Citywalk - and the Federal Enclave in West Los Angeles. The first two deputies are slated to be relieved in the fall. Three more are expected to depart over the year, but the overall count will go down by four as an additional deputy will be assigned to the Entertainment Policing division. 

According to WeHoVille, residents and business owners are not happy about the decision after expressing their deep concerns over the past few months about slashing the sheriff's budget in the midst of an unprecedented uptick in crime. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department or LASD reported in February that crime in West Hollywood had risen 137 percent as compared to the same period last year. Roughly 250 'Part One' crimes were reported that month, including murder, rape, burglary, aggravated assault, arson, and human trafficking. By comparison, there were only 105 such incidents reported in February 2021.


The West Hollywood city council was blasted on social media, with many blaming the political left and its 'defund the police' movement.

"So West Hollywood votes to defund police while crime is up 127%. Just shows how the rich do NOT care about the poor. They have security and the poor deal with the crime and no protection. Wake up, people! Democrats don’t care about you!!!" one tweeted.

"Leftwing logic: Problem: Crime is skyrocketing. Solution: Defund the police. You can't make this up!" another wrote.

"Unreal. I can't wait to see crime statistics for West Hollywood after they voted to defund the sheriff for that community. Wild Wild West!" someone else added.