Santa Clarita Valley’s top cop, Capt. Robert Lewis (pictured), took a moment Tuesday to reflect on a county report showing the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station received the second-highest number of commendations from the public and tied for third place for receiving the most complaints among Los Angeles County sheriff’s stations, bureaus and divisions.
“I take it as a positive,” Lewis said, regarding the latest report issued by the Office of the Inspector General. “If I’m never told where to improve, then we can never improve.”
On Friday, the county’s OIG issued its review of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Reform and Oversight Efforts for the period between July and September of this year.
The SCV Sheriff’s Station received 24 commendations from the public, second only to Palmdale.
For Lewis, the deputies on patrol, detectives and all the support staff receive far more commendations and accolades from the public than what is reflected in the OIG report.
Everything from a simple handshake, or a “thank you” from the station’s constituents, to posts placed on social media — or even a thumbs-up emoji — are all examples of positive feedback that local law enforcement personnel hear from the public daily, he said.
“We don’t know how many accolades are posted on social media,” he said. “And, we don’t log any of these as commendations. If you take those numbers into account, then the No. 2 (commendation statistics) would quadruple.”
Another factor not immediately apparent in the OIG report, Lewis said, was a consideration for the growing number of SCV residents deputies are called on to protect and serve compared to smaller populations at other LASD stations examined.
“The numbers do not take into account the actual population,” he said. “Between the city of Santa Clarita and the unincorporated areas of the county, we serve 294,000 residents.”
The SCV station also ranked third among LASD stations having received 13 personnel complaints, the same number received by the station in Compton, out of 62 stations, bureaus or personnel divisions listed in the report.
Lewis suggested it would be worth anyone’s time to look at the population size of Compton compared to that of SCV — the county’s third-largest community for the past three years.
The population of Compton, according to 2017 statistics, was 97,612.
“We appreciate community feedback. Our deputies handle over 100,000 calls for service each year,” Lewis said.
“They are taking illegal firearms and drugs off the street, arresting drunk drivers, and vigilantly watching for anyone who is coming into our city to potentially victimize our community members,” he said.
“Despite a high call volume, they do their best to meet and exceed our high expectations,” Lewis said. “I’m proud of our deputies. They put their lives on the line so that our Santa Clarita Valley residents can sleep in peace at night.”