More than 500 residents joined city leaders, law enforcement and fire officials Tuesday evening to protest proposed cuts in public safety services. The crowd gathered at St. Martino Park and poured into the narrow neighborhood streets nearby chanting, "Save our streets."
"We want to send a very loud and clear message from this great community that enough is enough," said Capt. John Anderson, commander of the Lakewood Sheriff's Department. "Public safety needs to be a priority to preserve the quality of life in Lakewood."
Law enforcement officials told the crowd, which filled the park's basketball courts, that budget-balancing proposals could cost the county Sheriff's Department $108 million and result in the loss of 1,300 deputies, gang enforcement teams and other community programs and the closure of nine stations and four jails.
Residents also were warned the county fire department could face $122 million in cuts, resulting in the closure of 41 stations, including two in Lakewood, and that response to a fire could take as long as 15 minutes.
The district attorney's office also would lose field offices and could be forced to stop prosecuting misdemeanor cases, officials said.