New LASD sheriff Alex Villanueva promises ICE out of jail, body cameras for deputies

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- New Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he'll make good on his campaign promise to remove Immigration and Customs Enforcement from the jail, but that doesn't mean the LASD won't work with ICE.

Speaking on Eyewitness Newsmakers, Villanueva said dangerous undocumented criminals released from jail custody will still be turned over to ICE agents under SB54, but it will happen in a secure courtyard, outside the jail's confines.

The sheriff weighed in on new jails, saying it's too soon to jump into a $2 billion facility.

"I think we have to halt the process, press pause," Villanueva said.

He's talking about a smaller lockup but more mental health facilities spread through the community. And as for building a new women's jail in Lancaster: "It's a horrifically bad idea," he said.

Villanueva is talking about the distance from visitors and medical facilities.

Villanueva predicted L.A. County sheriff's deputies will wear body cameras by the first quarter of 2019. Most police departments have them now, to ensure the safety of civilians and sworn personnel.

The sheriff said the department has reduced startup costs that caused the initial program "sticker shock." He said body cameras can get underway for $13 million run by a department of 11 employees, instead of the original quote of 239 employees and $55 million.

Villanueva clarified his stand on refusing to return campaign money that may have been collected from straw donors. When it was reported a complaint is being investigated that larger donations were sent to the campaign through small donors, Villanueva said he would not return the money because he knows of no wrongdoing. He said he still knows of no impropriety to date, but if he does, he "would give it back."
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