Controversy over the planned transfer of a Sheriff’s Sergeant serving Rosemead may have resulted in the delaying approval of the Sheriff’s contract with the city.
The County Sheriff’s Department serves as the local police agency for the city under a five-year contract that is ending in June.
Early in the council meeting of March 11 several speakers at oral communications praised the work of Sergeant Abel Moreno and his local team in preventing crime and building a strong relationship with local residents.
Among the people lauding the Sheriff’s team were Council Member Sandra Armenta and Steve Rivera of the Evergreen Baptist Church.
“I have to echo the concerns of the citizens,” said Armenta. She said it was not a good time to change personnel with the increase in crime rates this year.
City Manager Jeff Allred explained that it is basically the same contract that is being offered to 31 cities served by the Sheriff’s Department.
The city’s contract, however, permits the designation of a “police chief” for the highest-ranking Sheriff’s deputy assigned to the city.
Also speaking in support of Sgt. Moreno were residents Tam Dinh, Lydia Apodoca, Christian Venegas, and Sy Pham. A strongly worded email objecting to the reassignment was sent by resident Juan Esquivel.
“The public safety team has been very effective in preventing crime and building bridges with the community” Esquivel said in the email.
Sheriff’s Capt. Christopher Nee of Temple City Station spoke at the meeting and said that the Rosemead team is not being disassembled. He explained that the current sergeant has been on the assignment for four years.
“I was looking to put a new set of eyes,” on the assignment, he said.
Shortly after, the council voted 4-0, with Councilwoman Maggie Clark absent, to “table” approval of the contract until further review of the contract by City Attorney.
Specifically, the city attorney will review the city’s role in determining personnel assigned to the city.
The current Sheriff’s contract ends in June. The council expects to take up the contract at the next meeting scheduled March 25. The policing contract is currently budged at $6.7 million annually.