Letter: Shoddy and Rude

Letter to the Editor

In the 55 + years that I have lived and driven in Malibu I have never been stopped for cause by the sheriff or highway patrol. I’m obviously the “little old lady from Pasadena.” I do have, however, some personal observations regarding the Los Angeles County Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department. Whenever I have spoken to or interacted with male LACo Sheriffs, they have been rude… They have sent out an aura of defensiveness. In the past, I have never put my observations on paper, but in light of recent events I am compelled to write down my feelings.

Recently, a friend of mine disappeared and later was found dead. Her disappearance was reported to the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department, who made a slow and shoddy, at best, search, finding nothing until it was too late. Whatever was communicated to the public was consistently preceded by the comment that she was “bi-polar and without her meds” as if this was her defining characteristic. Common sense might tell us that she was close to home, maybe locked out. As we later found out, she had made her way into a crawl space under the house… She was found 11 days later, dead. 

The initial search must have been poorly executed to have missed finding her. (My observation) This sad event is reminiscent of Mitrice Richardson—again, a woman with a medical/emotional problem. Years ago, our Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station released her from custody, after midnight, alone, without transportation or money. Her body was found two years later. No one, man, woman or child, should be turned out of custody without some support in getting to safety. Again, shoddy sheriff’s behavior.

Then there is the case of the young father camping in Malibu Creek State Park with his two young daughters. The same Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station chose not to let the camping public know there had been multiple reports of gunfire in the area. A whistle blower within the Sheriff’s Department had tried to have the many shootings made public. He was disciplined (fired—recently to be reinstated). We know how this scenario ended: a dead father. Tragic and possibly avoidable.

Several years ago, my next door neighbor’s daughter was the victim of an attempted kidnapping near Pavilions Market. There were witnesses, descriptions and a traumatized young girl. The sheriff was contacted immediately and failed to send anyone out to investigate. Again, shoddy sheriff’s department behavior.

Three years ago, a family of convicted felons moved in nextdoor to my husband and myself. The Extradition Department of the Ventura County Sheriffs was assigned the duty of apprehending them… the Ventura Sheriffs set up a roadblock and took chase. They had little time to explain but asked us to call our local sheriff if we saw these people again, which we, in fact, did. The felons returned late one night. I immediately called and told the Lost Hills Sheriff what the Ventura Sheriffs had requested. The Lost Hills Sheriff who answered the phone said, “Why are you telling me this? Oh well… suppose I could call Ventura and find out.” Again, shoddy procedure and, of course, rude.

We have all read about the suits brought by two separate Lost Hills deputies against the department. I had contacted Jennifer Seetoo, in her role as liaison to the public with the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Dept. after I asked a “hide-a-cop” in our neighborhood to please move his motorcycle from our intersection with PCH because he was in an unsafe place. He rudely told me that what he was doing was legal. True, but unsafe. Seetoo was successful in getting the officer to move elsewhere.

During the Woolsey Fire, the sheriff’s deputies made it impossible for residents who remained to fight the fire to have free access to their homes and to receive deliveries of needed supplies. They were rude, unhelpful and threatening, thereby causing many unnecessary and life-threatening difficulties.

These same sheriffs are our employees. We pay their salaries and we do appreciate their service. They treat us as though we are the bane of their existence. They are uncomfortable to approach and hide behind the “chip on their shoulders.”

PR is not their strong suit.

Malibu resident