The district is currently looking into a security service for next year.
By Cassandra Nava, News Editor
LACCD is seeking a new contract for security services for its nine colleges. The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department has notified LACCD about the termination of its contracts. (Photo by Ava Rosate/The Valley Star)
LACCD’s 19-year partnership with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department will expire at the end of the year. With no plans to renew it, the district is looking for an alternative security service.
After five months of discussions, the district and LASD have not reached any agreements for a new contract. The LACCD board of trustees are currently looking for a temporary security service to be put in place until a new service can be implemented. In a news release from LASD, the sheriff’s department stated that the community college district is looking to provide an unarmed security service instead.
Although there is no information on what security service the district will employ, or if this is the reason the district did not renew the contract, in a recent police reform panel LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez stated, “We have been very clear about our interests in de-escalation and culturally responsive training.”
The current budget for LACCD’s contract with LASD is over $25 million a year, which includes security for all nine colleges. According to the district’s press release, about 150 LASD personnel are a part of the Community College Bureau, which began in 2001.
On any LACCD campus, it is suggested that in the event of an emergency, the Sheriff's Department is the primary agency for reporting crimes. Valley’s Sheriff's Station, located in the Maintenance & Operations Building, is open 24/7. It is equipped similarly to a regular sheriff’s station and is staffed with two LA County sheriff deputies, 13 security officers and nine college cadets, according to Valley’s website. Deputy Felix, the team leader, declined to comment on the end of the relationship between LACCD and LASD.
Deputies that worked at the colleges will be reassigned within the department when the contract expires, according to NBC.
Students across the country are calling to defund campus police, according to Inside Higher Ed. Student activists in Minnesota have succeeded in dismantling University of Minnesota campus police which had ties with the Minneapolis Police Department, who employed police officers responsible for George Floyd’s death.
Unlike Valley and the other eight colleges in the district, local colleges and universities such as Santa Monica College and UCLA are equipped with their own police departments.
The community college SMC has its own law enforcement agency. The Santa Monica College Police Department is a certified agency that uses uniformed and non-uniformed officers to patrol the campus and surrounding areas.
According to their website, “Police Officers are duly sworn Peace Officers, authorized to carry firearms, have the authority and duty to conduct criminal investigations, arrest violators and suppress campus crime on the campus and on all properties owned and operated by Santa Monica College.”
Local public university UCLA also has its own law enforcement set in place as well, the UCLA Police Department. According to the university’s website, the UCPD are empowered by the state to have authority to enforce all state and local laws. Similar to Valley, the UCPD is the first resource students are suggested to call in case of an emergency opposed to calling the LAPD.
UCLA has started to demand police change. In a message from the university’s chancellor and executive vice chancellor, steps to create a more inclusive space for Black Bruins were listed.
“As a first set of tasks, the new council’s work will include reviewing our relationships with external police forces and examining the responsibilities resting with our UC police force to see what work may appropriately be taken on by others and what must stay with UCPD to ensure campus safety,” stated the message.
Sheriffs will continue to patrol the nine colleges in the LACCD until the current contract expires on Dec. 31 of this year.
Rodriguez stated in the district’s press release, “Over the next few months, we will engage in an assessment of campus safety at LACCD and use that assessment as the basis for a Request for Proposals for campus safety services.”