Taking over a police department is no easy task
When Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies moved into Maywood a month
ago to fill in for the city's disbanded police force, they were shocked
to find 80 reports of suspected child abuse that had seemingly gone
uninvestigated by local police.
"We thought, 'Oh, my goodness,'" said Capt. Henry Romero of the sheriff's East Los Angeles station.
But after Romero directed deputies to the sites of the alleged abuses, officials were relieved to learn that the cases had been looked at — they just hadn't been cleared and filed away in the rush before Maywood abruptly closed its police force.
The initial confusion, Romero said, speaks to the challenges of suddenly and unexpectedly assuming law enforcement responsibilities and taking over unfinished police work. It's a scenario that has become increasingly apparent on the sprawling department's radar as municipalities across the county consider outsourcing public safety.
Amid fiscal problems, Pomona, Sierra Madre and other L.A. County cities are talking about following Maywood's lead and dropping local policing in favor of sheriff's patrols. Cudahy, which was patrolled by Maywood police, is now also relying on the Sheriff's Department.
Photo: Deputy Jose Esparza files a stolen-vehicle report for Maywood residents Angelina and Jose Martinez. The L.A. County Sheriff's Department took over patrols in the city July 1 after its police department was disbanded. Credit: Christina House / For The Times