Consuls General Conference

Consuls General Conference

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) headquarters today transformed into a veritable United Nations, as over 40 Consuls General or their designees convened with LASD subject matter experts for a day of educational exchange and robust dialogue.  As LA County is home to the second largest Consular Corps in the world—a staggering 104 Consulates—it is no surprise that LASD is at the forefront of consular access and exchanges of best practices.  The purpose of today’s consular conference was to discuss policing topics of interest to Consuls General and the constituents they serve.

Undersheriff Timothy Murakami kicked off the morning with an overview of the size, scope, and responsibilities of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  Presentations from the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, Custody Operations, and Mental Evaluation Team ensued.  Lieutenant Dan Stanley from the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and Mr. Philip Gnaedig from the Coalition to Abolish Slavery gave an overview of how consular officers can recognize human trafficking in their respective communities, and LASD’s victim-centered approach to combatting this issue.  The LASD’s seamless coordination with NGO partners was a highlight of this presentation. 

Assistant Sheriff Robert Olmsted was accompanied by Chief Bruce Chase, Captain Brendan Corbett, and support personnel to discuss matters related to persons in custody.  Custody is an important topic of interest for the diplomatic community because arrest notification and consular access are requirements of international law.  Navigating the LA County jail system can be confusing and this was a good chance to answer questions and address concerns.

Sergeant Annadennise Briz, Sergeant Vincent Plair, and Dr. Pietro D’Ingilio were present to discuss the Mental Evaluation Team and how this countywide response team has become a model for law enforcement nationwide.  This is especially significant as some studies show that nationally, cases of depression and psychological distress are on the rise.  The mental health training that our deputies go through was particularly interesting for the consular community, and many requested to participate in such learning opportunities.  

Today was also the first opportunity for Sheriff Villanueva to speak to such a diverse consular audience.  During his remarks he shared how LASD can be a resource for the Consular Corps.  He emphasized the importance we place on upholding the relevant tenets of the Vienna Convention.  In keeping with his promise of transparency, he also invited the Consuls General and consular officers in attendance to reach out to the International Liaison Unit to continue exploring the topics discussed today and any other topics they find important.     

It was great to take questions from attendees and share policies and practices to develop stronger ties with our global partners!