After years of complaints from residents in unincorporated communities about the lack of parking enforcement, Supervisor Holly Mitchell successfully presented and passed a motion of support from the Board of Supervisors to transfer parking enforcement from the civilian officers to the Department of Public Works Transportation Services Division.

After the motion passed in October 2023 with a 4-1 vote, the Board of Supervisors received a report on the plan from County CEO Fesia Davenport in February to begin transferring parking enforcement to the Department of Public Works Transportation Services Division at the March 19, Board of Supervisors meeting.

Currently, civilian officers that serve as Parking Control Officers in the Sheriff’s Department are not sworn Sheriff deputies. The transfer of the Parking Control Officers to the DPW does not stop sworn Sheriff deputies from being able to administer parking tickets in unincorporated LA County or anywhere that LASD is contracted with cities to assist in law enforcement.

The business plan prepared by DPW sets forth the implementation timeline and estimated associated costs to move parking enforcement services from LASD to DPW.  The plan provides a two-phased approach.  In the first phase, existing LASD staff and resources will transfer to DPW, and DPW will acquire necessary startup equipment and hire key additional staff.  In the second phase, DPW will enhance the parking enforcement program with additional staffing, assets, and technological improvements.

With respect to cost projections, DPW estimates $23.2 million in ongoing funding and $1.8 million in onetime funding are needed for phase one. An additional $14.8 million in ongoing funding and $10.5 million in one-time funding are estimated for phase two.

“When illegally parked cars are not cited consistently and in a timely manner. It impacts a host of other municipal services. It prevents street cleanings. It makes it difficult for customers to access small business in their neighborhood and makes our streets unsafe by blocking the right of way,” explained Mitchell.

“The transfer will allow parking services to be placed in the most appropriate department as other jurisdictions across the county have done what the entity that actually oversees streets and sidewalks. The issue before us today is not weather parking services should be transferred, but the implementation plan for this to occur.”

Supervisor Mitchell along with reports from other cities that have transferred parking enforcement to their public works departments suggest a range of benefits for unincorporated communities such as being able to protect the safety of residents that have been impacted by cars double parked in the street, on sidewalks or in areas they aren’t allowed. Additional benefits will ensure no jobs will be lost.

The 60 spots to serve as Parking Control Officers in the Sheriff’s Department will transfer over to the Department of Public Works Transportation Services Division. Also, the transfer upholds the County’s vision of Care First, Jails Last by placing this key service currently being implemented by civilians within a division where it can be given more dedicated attention.

L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna made it clear during the agenda meeting that the Sheriff’s department does not support the transfer despite admitting to years of neglect with implementing parking enforcement services adequately across all the LA County unincorporated communities.

“My executive team has examined the operation of the parking enforcement detail. Parking is a complicated issue with many contributing factors, including density and specifically the availability of parking. The sheriff’s department is the best place for parking enforcement for the safety and security of our personnel, training, of our personnel, providing access to specific systems and for all of the administrative functions,” he explained. “Parking enforcement should remain within the sheriff’s department.”

The transfer plan, as currently prepared, would include 69 Parking Control Officers and 12 Supervising Parking Control Officers positions.

Supervisor Janice Hahn, who was the only vote in opposition, presented a motion that was unanimously approved requesting Sheriff Luna provide a verbal and written report back to the Board within 45 days with a proposed business plan for parking enforcement services within his department and incorporate equitable investments back into the communities where citation revenues are collected.

The Board also listened to residents and business owners who provided public commentary by sharing their experience.

“My front of my store hasn’t been swept for about a year and we have no parking enforcement, complained Victor M. Gonzalez, 54, owner of Warehouse of Savings appliance store located in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood.

“I’ve also seen people parked on the red line and near fire hydrants, yet parking enforcement just passes by even if they are double parked.”

Other community members described a lack of urgency or no response at all when being asked to respond to parking violations, they also shared how communities have been overlooked and actually support the transfer to Public Works.

“We as a board are both employers and service providers, and we have to create a sense of balance for that by transferring the parking control employees and work to DPW,” Mitchell went on to say.

“We are attempting to provide a more effective, efficient service delivery infrastructure, particularly for those who live in unincorporated communities.”

Within the coming weeks, Supervisor Hahn plans to present a new motion to kill the plan to move parking enforcement from the Sheriff’s department. This will be placed on the Tuesday, April 9, Board of Supervisors meeting.


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(Sentinel News Service)