The city of Compton is taking legal action against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, claiming the agency is failing to provide enough law-enforcement and committing fraud in its contract.
- The City of Compton is taking legal action against the LA County Sheriff's Department, alleging fraud that cost the city millions of dollars. Eyewitness News reporter Carlos Granda has details on the claim and response from Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
DAMON BROWN: Fraud and breach of contract.
CARLOS GRANDA: Compton city leaders announcing a claim against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. They say the city was charged for work and overtime that wasn't related to city business.
JAMON HICKS: What that means is that we have deputies that are saying there are locations that they're not at, that we have deputies that are saying they're patrolling the streets of the residents when they are not, or that they are doing what's called excessive billing, including overtime fraud.
DAMON BROWN: We believe that a theft of historic proportions has taken place, resulting in damages which potentially amount to millions in taxpayer dollars.
CARLOS GRANDA: City officials say the billing issues resulted in fewer services for the residents of Compton.
MAYOR AJA BROWN: The result is major understaffing at Compton Station, lack of responsiveness to calls for service, and increased crime and danger to our community. This fraud is widespread and well known.
SHERIFF ALEX VILLANUEVA: To call it a fraud, that might be a little bit of a stretch.
CARLOS GRANDA: Sheriff Alex Villanueva today said the Department has lived up to its policing contract with the City of Compton.
SHERIFF ALEX VILLANUEVA: We measure the minutes, and there's a rate. And we have to get close to the 100%, either slightly above, slightly below. But we'll definitely take the allegations seriously, and we are already doing a thorough audit on it. And we'll take action based on the results of that.
CARLOS GRANDA: Now that Compton has filed a claim for damages, the LA County Sheriff's Department has to respond. If it doesn't, then the city can move forward with a lawsuit.