LASD Capt. Jennifer Seetoo looks to turn TIDE on local crime

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Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff’s captain details new crime-fighting efforts in speech at State of the City address 

After a warm welcome from the Malibu community at last week’s State of the City address, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Capt. Jennifer Seetoo detailed some innovative ideas she has to help deter crime in our area.

As one of the featured speakers at the event sponsored by the Malibu Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce, Seetoo opened her remarks saying, “I’m honored to be your station captain and to be back in this community. I love you guys so much.” After more applause for the popular law enforcement officer, Seetoo noted the many people in attendance she’s worked with on public safety initiatives and thanked them for their service.

While other speakers spoke of the state of the city today as is custom, Seetoo said she would address the future of public safety and law enforcement. Malibu/Lost Hills’ first female captain said it would be “epic failure” to continue the status quo. 

The captain stated with the support she sees from the Malibu City Council, new County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath and new Sheriff Robert Luna “we can do something and change.” She laid out her ideas presenting them using the acronym TIDE.

The T stands for technology. Seetoo said she partnered with property developer and Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff to develop a real-time crime and disaster center for the “whole entire community.” With the help of others, Soberoff secured funds for the project that recently broke ground at the Malibu/Lost Hills station. Seetoo says it will be the first such center in the nation “that’s actually funded and built by the community.” She thanked those in attendance saying, “Malibu is leading the way.”

Seetoo explained that eventually private businesses and local schools can upload their security public-facing cameras to livestream into the station’s center. 

“If there’s a burglary at one of our businesses we can immediately pull up that camera, look what’s going on, make sure that deputies know what they’re responding to, give suspect information and be able to apprehend; make a difference,” she said. “Let’s stop this crime. We want to stop any crime from coming to Malibu and this entire community.” 

The center would also be used in disasters. Seetoo was personally affected on her third day on the job at Malibu/Lost Hills, the day of the Woolsey Fire. She said she will never forget it, calling it “the most horrific day in my career.” 

She wants fire cameras livestreamed into the center to have “early detection, respond quickly, and know if roads are blocked. Wouldn’t that be incredible?”

The I stands for innovation. Seetoo said that while crime has not gone up in the Malibu area, it has in surrounding communities and “criminals do not know borders.” 

She said of people using Pacific Coast Highway as a speedway.

“That has got to stop,” Seetoo said. “We have to come up with new solutions to protect our most vulnerable, our kids. Every kid deserves to go to school and be safe. 

“We have to come up with new solutions to prevent and respond to natural disasters. Let’s not forget about earthquakes. When that earthquake comes, guess what? Nobody else is coming here.”

D stands for drones. “Yes, you heard me I said drones,” the captain reiterated. Seetoo said the use of drones by the Malibu Search and Rescue Team, the busiest in the county, would be enhanced. Drones could fly in to assess situations and find lost hikers or cars over the side. And Seetoo said the response time would be faster. Drones could also be used before fire season to locate hidden homeless encampments in canyons. Once located Seetoo said services would be offered to those living in the canyons and lessen the likelihood of fires.

E stands for everyone, as Seetoo said “We all have to partner together.” She recalled in 2019 how she partnered with the late Safety Commissioner Andy Cohen and Safety Chair Chris Frost on devising a traffic plan for PCH. According to Seetoo there were no traffic deaths that summer. 

“We can’t do this alone. We need you to develop innovative ideas to make a safe PCH,” Seetoo said. “We can work together as a team and make PCH safe. A tide takes multiple forces coming together. I hope you will join me and your law enforcement family to work together, join forces to help prevent crime and prepare for natural disasters.”