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Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will increase rates costing cities hundreds of thousands

BY BRIAN HEWS

Hews Media Group Los Cerritos Community News has learned that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will increase rates on all contract cities;  the hit to member city budgets will range from $250,000 to over $1 million annually.

The March 27 letter indicated that the cities will see an increase of 5.57% for services, while increasing the Liability Trust Fund (LTF) by .05% to 11.5%.

The LASD services 42 cities that collectively paid over $320 million to the sheriff’s department this past year.

The letter read, “The Auditor-Controller has recently approved the 2020-21 law enforcement contracting cost model. This annual rate renewal process has officially resulted in a 5.57% increase in the cost of a Deputy Sheriff Service Unit for the upcoming fiscal year.”

The increase also applied to “bonus” deputies and sergeants, “additionally, the rate increase for a bonus 1 deputy will be 5.52% and a sergeant will be 5.83%. The slightly higher rates are due to increases in salaries and employee benefits.”

The LTF pools money from the contract cities to cover payouts tied to litigation stemming from shootings, car crashes and misconduct involving deputies at their stations.

The LTF is partially self-insured and covered by excess insurance from carriers that include Lloyd’s of London because it is so difficult to find domestic insurers who cover policing activities.

In July 2019, the sheriff raised the rates because of the need to replenish the fund, which has paid out large jury verdicts and settlements from claims over the past several years.

According to county data, the contract cities collectively paid out $15.4 million in 2018.

For the 42 cities in Los Angeles County that don’t have their own police departments, paying for deputy sheriffs to patrol their streets is sometimes their biggest expense.

Some cities spend as much as a third of their budgets on it.

HMG-LCCN contacted several local city managers in the newspaper’s circulation area concerning the increase and found that it will cost cities between $250,000 and $800,000.

In Bellflower, the increase will cost $700,000; in La Mirada, the increase will take $450,000 from the city’s budget; in Commerce the increase will cost taxpayers $470,000; Cerritos will pay an additional $700,000; Hawaiian Gardens will pay an additional $250,000; Artesia’s budget is similar to Hawaiian Gardens and will pay an extra $250,000.

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