More than 200 Foothill community residents filled a school auditorium Tuesday night to protest plans to consolidate the La Crescenta and Altadena sheriff's stations.
In three hours of emotional exchange, residents said they fear the cost-cutting measure will bring more crime into the quiet, affluent La Crescenta community. Many complained that they were not adequately informed of the consolidation, which began July 1 and will be completed by early next year.
Representatives of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told the protesters that their fears are unfounded and that the consolidation will continue as planned.
After consolidation, arrests made in Altadena will be processed at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station. Suspects will be jailed at La Crescenta.
$1.3 Million Savings a Year
Both stations will stay open and Altadena patrol cars will still be based at the Altadena station, but the two will work under a single administrative structure. The move will save an estimated $1.3 million this year, Sheriff's Division Chief Harry Hansen said.
A study predicts the move will about double the number of detainees at La Crescenta. Residents fear an influx of criminals into the quiet community.
"The sheriffs are saying that if they can make bail, they will release them, providing their friends and family pick them up," said Katharine Lissner, a La Crescenta resident. "I'm not particularly excited about having the families of that particular type of element in our community. What kind of a family produces a felon? What kind of friends does a felon have?"
But Sheriff's Department representatives said consolidation will have little effect. Currently, 78% of people arrested in La Crescenta live outside the city, Hansen said.