LASD News

Compton VRN serves as a model for crime reduction


Sheriff McDonnell Announces Major Crackdown of Violent Crime in Compton;Results Delivered on 2015 Promise After Three-Year Partnership with Federal Agencies

The City of Compton has seen double-digit declines in gang-related shootings and homicides and an overall decrease in chronic violence, after a three-year partnership between the United States Department of Justice, Compton and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD).
 
On Tuesday, September 11, 2018, Sheriff McDonnell, Assistant United States Attorney Justin Rhoades and Compton City Councilwoman Janna Zurita stood with officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Los Angeles County Probation Department, United States Marshals Service, and Compton Unified School District Police Department and offered details of a collaboration that netted more than four thousand arrests, several federal indictments, and hundreds of illegal guns confiscated and more than 270 pounds of narcotics including enough Fentanyl to kill nearly four million people.
 
In 2015, the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice selected Compton for what launched three years ago as the Violence Reduction Network (VRN) of more than ten cities across the nation working closely with the federal government to reduce chronic violence in their communities.
 
This program provided the LASD Compton Station technical resources, training and the ability for the Department of Justice and local officials to work together seamlessly to address twelve key areas of focus, including gang violence and prevention, human trafficking, mental illness and homelessness, at-risk youth, and trust-building in the community.
 
“Agents with the ATF and the DEA worked side-by-side with our deputies, making real time decisions on operations and arrests,” said Sheriff Jim McDonnell.  “As a result, our Compton Station’s gang enforcement, narcotics and cyber-crime teams were able to strategically partner with Justice Department counterparts on intelligence-gathering, warrants service and major operations, and sometimes work in real time scenarios to make arrests.”

The outcomes speak volumes:  4,092 people were arrested and/or indicted, 636 illegal firearms were taken off the streets, 80 pounds of explosives were seized, 647 pounds of illegal narcotics such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, and 18 pounds of Fentanyl were removed. The VRN will continue as the Public Safety Partnership (PSP).
 
Sheriff McDonnell stated, “The message to the criminals is:  We are coming for you.  And when we do, many of you will be looking at hard time in a federal prison, far from home and far from your gang affiliations.   We will work together in ways you won’t expect.  We will dismantle criminal organizations, take massive amounts of weapons and drugs off the streets and put in place community outreach programs that give youth hope.”
 
The United States Attorney’s Office worked closely with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to coordinate criminal prosecutions in federal and state courts.
 
Nick Hanna, United States Attorney, Central District:  "As a result of the truly integrated nature of this project, we have seen tremendous successes in confronting the crime problem in Compton. I am confident that we will continue to improve the safety and security of Compton neighborhoods, because of the training provided over the past three years, the data were have gathered and analyzed, and the commitment of each and every participant to continue the partnership designed to keep this great community safe and thriving."
 
Jackie Lacey, L.A. District Attorney:  “Compton is a safer place because of this dynamic collaboration led by Sheriff McDonnell and his department.  We have reduced homicides and other violent crimes, and are working to decrease human sex trafficking and drug sales as a way to shrink funding sources used by gangs to buy weapons and drugs.”
 
Daniel Comeaux, DEA Associate Special Agent in Charge: “The joint operation revealed here today has successfully targeted the leadership and most violent members of several Compton area gangs as well as their links to the Mexican Mafia, which ultimately controls the drug supply to local area gangs for street level sales. The DEA will continue to work with our law enforcement partners in an effort to free our communities of drugs and shut down the street gangs that regulate the drug trafficking business through violence.”

Bill McMullan, Special Agent in Charge of ATF, Los Angeles Field Division: “Public Safety Partnerships effectively combine federal, state and local law enforcement resources to help protect our communities.  Through this initiative, more than 300 guns were taken off the Compton streets and out of the hands of criminals by ATF.  We will continue to build on these strong partnerships and remain committed to proactively identifying and targeting gang members involved in violent criminal activity. 
 
The Public Safety Partnership provided the Sheriff’s Department with technical assistance and access to resources as part of a robust violent crime strategy supported by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The Justice Department program maximized its access to resources to ensure cities dealing with chronic violence have a strategic way to access resources, such as training and exposure to evidence-based best practices across the country.
 
David Singer, U.S. Marshal for the Central District of California:  “These types of relationships are vital to maintaining the safety of the very communities within which we live and work.  The ability of local, state and federal law enforcement to work together is vital to the safety and security of our communities. The core components of the Public Safety Partnership include expedited access to subject matter experts who can provide training and insight into critical issues, such as use of force, community trust-building and information sharing with peer-to-peer exchanges, which can provide a more thorough understanding of what drives violent crime and what solutions have worked in other cities.”
 
Paul Delacourt, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office: “The FBI has a long history of supporting multi-agency task forces like the one here in Compton.  Through the FBI’s Safe Streets Program, we participate in more than 200 violent crime task forces throughout the country addressing crimes including extortion, kidnappings, criminal enterprises, fugitives and narcotics trafficking.  The Public Safety Partnership enabled the FBI to collaborate with our local and federal partners more effectively in south Los Angeles with the help of additional resources, and those partnerships are here to stay.”   
 
Director Frank Adams, Los Angeles County Probation Department:  “Los Angeles County Probation Department was grateful to be part of the multi-agency effort, led by the Department of Justice and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, to focus resources on the City of Compton.  During this three year journey, the task force was able to make a significant difference through working together.  We look forward to continued collaboration and efforts to reduce crime and improve the safety of communities in Los Angeles County.”
 
William Wu, Compton Unified School District Police Chief:  “At-risk youth and trust-building in the community, part of the 12 key areas of the program’s focus, were drastically impacted.  Compton Unified School District is grateful to the PSP which has brought tremendous resources to our students and community. Through the PSP, we have received outreach and education in the form of student presentations, parent education on safety issues, as well as law enforcement support to the CUSD Police Department.  Students, especially, got a chance to interact with federal special agents and prosecutors, and see firsthand, some of the tools and techniques law enforcement employs.  Students and parents unanimously loved the presentations with many stating they have not thought about a career in law or law enforcement but now they are.  All of these efforts truly help make Compton a better place.”
 
Cecil W. Rhambo, Jr., Compton City Manager:  "The Public Safety Partnership has brought tangible results in Compton's targeting of specific crimes.  The statistical proof is beyond debate. This is an example of how intergovernmental cooperation is executed to succeed."            
 
The Public Safety Partnership program will continue with a five-year sustainability plan.
 
To learn more about Sheriff McDonnell’s position on gun violence, please read his editorial to be published in the Los Angeles Daily News and the Lang Newspaper chain: 
https://www.dailynews.com/2018/09/10/the-ongoing-fight-against-gun-violence-in-los-angeles-county/