West Hollywood’s city council voted to defund their sheriff’s department even though crime has jumped by an estimated 137% in the liberal city.
The narrowly passed vote, 3-2, will reduce the department’s officers from 60 to 56 in the coming year.
The reallocated fund will be used to pay for unarmed “security ambassadors” under a scheme called Block By Block, and to help fund a Russian art festival.
West Hollywood Defunds Police Despite 137% Surge In Crimehttps://t.co/5j1W5d00Ql
— Nathan Cappelletti (@cappelletti_n8) June 29, 2022
Lauren Meister, Democratic mayor of West Hollywood, voted against the plan. She called it illogical in light of the city’s surge in crime.
“I’m not going to vote for the budget if we cut the sheriff’s (funds),” Meister told local news site WeHoville.com.
“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 said.
West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station polices the City of West Hollywood and the communities of Franklin Canyon, Universal City, and the Federal Enclave in West Los Angeles. This area is one of the top spots in Los Angeles for tourism, which includes Universal Studios.
Fellow councilman John M. Erickson voted in opposition to 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.”
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!!!
— Jen Short (@ezrider52) June 29, 2022
Sepi Shyne, who proposed the plan, said police officers cost too much. She said that the Block by Block program represented more “bang for the buck.”
“We need to be fiscally responsible,” said Shyne. “Reimagining policing means reallocating funding. You can’t just say it without actually doing it. Period.”
John D’Amico, another councilor who supports Shyne’s plan, emphasized that it will see more people patrolling the street through the Block by Block plan.
“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 in a statement.
The first two deputies will go in the fall. Three more will depart in the coming year, with one officer added for the entertainment division.