Los Angeles Sheriff Addresses Budget Concerns
“Let’s talk about how in the hell we’re going to make it better,” Baca said. “You pay me to spend your money in the smartest way I can.”
The sheriff argued crime is directly correlated with lack of education and said he wants to implement community programs that aid in the rehabilitation of parolees.
Baca also stressed that one of the biggest fights the LASD faces involves the drug cartel. The sheriff asked the community to vote against legalization of marijuana.
“Your children are going to be at risk,” he said.
The sheriff contends gangs will be involved in the drug trade even if marijuana is legalized in November. He also worries marijuana would be sold to children.
Baca also reaffirmed his support for the Three-Strikes Law that mandates longer jail sentences for repeat felons.
But some critics say that the Three-Strikes Law was ignored in the case of Omar Armando Loera. Omar Armando Loera, a 34-year-old parolee at large, was charged on Wednesday for fatally stabbing a Valley Village woman.
The suspect, who faces one count each of murder, burglary, arson and assault, set his victim’s house on fire during a burglary and fatally stabbed Cheree Osmanhodzic, 34, multiple times. He is believed to have fled to Fresno or Mexico.
Loera was subjected to "immigration enforcement actions” in the past, but a review by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed he is a U.S. citizen. Others argue the Valley Village murder is further evidence that the Department of Corrections is in need of closer scrutiny.
“New leadership is needed in the Department of Corrections,” said Eric Rose of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. Rose maintains the Department of Corrections has demonstrated sheer ineptitude in keeping track of parolees.
Currently, only 15 percent of parolees are accounted for while the LASD releases inmates at a rate of 3,000 a month in LA County.
“95 percent [of inmates] are coming out,” Baca said.
Further, 20 percent of inmates are illegal immigrants, according to the sheriff.
“It’s one thing to come here to come to do work, it's another to come and commit a crime," Baca said.
Reach reporter Reut Cohen here.