LANCASTER — With the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department unable to fulfill its contract with the city because of a shortage of deputies, the City Council appointed Public Safety Director Lee D’Errico police chief, and established a hybrid law enforcement model and directed staff to hire a consultant firm to develop options for the city to work in partnership with the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
That would allow the Sheriff’s Department to focus on what they do best, then have other entities focus on the quality-of-life issues that take a lot of time, former City Manager Mark Bozigian said at the council’s Dec. 11 meeting.
“If we continue to do what we’re doing, we’re going to continue to get those same results,” Bozigian said. “If we look at how we use our best resources — what we do best, and what everyone else and the Sheriff’s Department can do best we’re going to make this community safer.”
The report is due back in 90 days. The consultant will work with city staff with detailed services that should be provided by different entities.
‘We would like to see an ability to pick up the slack rather than have deputies working double shifts, working without breaks, without days off, which has been the current state of affairs,” Parris said.
The mayor asked that D’Errico be appointed chief of police to put together a group of retired deputies for the hybrid law enforcement model.
The council voted unanimously to add the appointment to the agenda since it was not on the agenda.
“And that’s an interim situation until we get everything planned out,” Parris said.
D’Errico will not receive a pay raise as police chief. He has been with the city since 2008 when he joined the Public Safety Department..
D’Errico has more than 25 years of law enforcement and public, policing program for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
D’Errico spent 16 years as a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, then served several years as a senior investigator for the Los Angeles County Housing Authority, investigating Section 8 rental aid fraud and other cases.
“We’re paying the best police force in the country to take care of this city, and it they’re not doing it I think we should pull for breach of contract instead of forming a police department that we don’t know anything about yet,” resident Ed Galindo said.
The city has the largest contract in the county with the sheriff’s department, But the sheriff’s department is unable to fulfill the contract by about 24 deputies a month.
Vice Mayor Marvin Crist said the city is down about eight patrol units per shift.
Lancaster resident Melissa Cushman asked why the council decided to create the hybrid law enforcement model now.
“If it’s changed on the agenda why didn’t we hear, like why wasn’t this a public meeting, something that everybody could have input into,” Cushman said.
“I think there’s plenty of time for them to do that input,” Parris said.
Parris added D’Errico will serve on an interim basis while the program is being put together.
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