Local Sheriff’s station holds open house

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    Public learns about the many services the Sheriff’s Department performs, from rescue operations to traffic safety, in addition to ‘fighting crime.’

    By Sylvie Belmond/Special to The Malibu Times

    Two patrol vehicles, lights flashing, follow a car into the Malibu/ Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station’s parking lot. The deputies lean over the side of their vehicles with weapons drawn, commanding the suspects to get out of their car.

    “If you reach for that gun you will be done,” a deputy says through a loudspeaker as he waits behind the shelter of his patrol car. Slowly, the two offenders step out of their ride and follow the deputies’ instructions to step back as the deputies move in to cuff them.

    No, it’s not a scene from the show “COPS,” but a demonstration to entertain visitors who came to the annual Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station Open House that took place on Saturday.

    This demonstration was only one of the many law enforcement functions highlighted by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department during the event, which was attended by residents who live in the five cities served by the station.

    The department performs a wide range of law enforcement duties ranging from active rescue programs to detailed crime prevention education and implementation measures.

    The Malibu/Lost Hills Station is home to 160 deputies, and also headquarters an array of reserve deputies and volunteers who augment the work of the paid deputies. Among some of the services that come from the Malibu/Lost Hills Station are the Malibu Mountain Rescue Team, which performs high rescue operations, a mounted posse that patrols local trails on horseback and a K-9 unit, which owns and trains dogs that perform search and rescue operations. Volunteers and reserves also patrol local communities to ensure traffic safety around schools and during special events.

    On Saturday, young Sheriff’s Explorers, composed of young teenagers, starting from age 14, who learn about Sheriff’s operations while they participate in certain events, Arson Watch members and bomb squad representatives answered questions and performed demonstrations.

    Deputies gave descriptive station tours, which took visitors through the jail booking process and into the holding cells. During the booking process, suspects are taken to a room where they are hand printed and photographed. Those arrested are allowed three phone calls prior to being incarcerated.

    The unfurnished, uninviting and cold cells gave a chill to many of Saturday’s visitors. The two cells usually hold inmates for a 48-hour period before they are taken to court or to a downtown Los Angeles jail. They are also often used to incarcerate people who are intoxicated.

    The tour also led visitors through the detectives’ bureau, the record keeping area and an interview room. During the tour, a deputy pointed out that all local 911 calls come directly to the station. However, this is only the case for landlines, not cell phone emergency calls, which are directed to the California Highway patrol instead.

    Outside, high winds temporarily swept the parking lot behind the station as an L.A. County Fire Department helicopter throttled off to impress children and adults alike with its powerful lift off abilities.