It took Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies a minute longer to respond to emergency calls from unincorporated parts of the county than from cities that contract with the department for police services, according to a newly released county audit.
The finding by the county's auditor-controller comes days after Supervisor Gloria Molina accused Sheriff Lee Baca of "stealing" police resources from residents in unincorporated neighborhoods, providing better service to contract cities than to unincorporated areas.
According to the new county audit, which examined the last fiscal year, it took deputies, on average, 4.8 minutes to respond to emergency calls in contract cities compared with 5.8 minutes in unincorporated areas, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Unincorporated areas of Glendora are under the jurisdiction of the LASD San Dimas station. Glendora Police response times to residents in incorporated city limits is 3 minutes and 30 seconds, according to Glendora Police Chief Rob Castro.
Sheriff's officials said the extra minute was because neighborhoods in unincorporated areas are more spread out and have more difficult road conditions, The Times reported.
The audit also found that Baca provided 91 percent of promised patrol hours to unincorporated areas, compared with 99 percent for cities and agencies that buy his services, according to The Times. Sheriff's officials blamed the difference on deep budget cuts imposed by the board, causing the department to leave dozens of deputy positions unfilled.
Adjusted for those cuts, the department was much closer to its goal, averaging 98.5 percent fulfillment of its pledged patrol hours, according to the audit.
The findings are expected to add more fuel to the ongoing debate between the sheriff and the board about whether the sheriff is shortchanging county residents who live outside city borders.