TOPANGA CANYON— On July 16, Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Captain Becerra from the Malibu/ Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station hosted a community conversation with residents from Topanga Canyon for an afternoon of information and dialogue regarding community concerns.

Sheriff Villanueva updated residents on the state of the Sheriff’s Station, which is currently in the middle of a budget crisis with the county government. The station is faced with an almost 50% reduction of the county government budget.

“That’s gonna reduce the level of service we can provide to the community. That includes down in corporate communities, our detective division is suffering greatly because of this, and then the programs we offer our inmates in the county jails,” said Sheriff Villanueva.

One resident asked about the helicopters that were circling over Topanga Canyon near Sky Line Trail. The Sheriff confirmed that the helicopters served for surveillance purposes to locate an adult who was reported with a gun. The individual is now in custody according to the Sheriff.

When asked about whether officers are required to wear masks, Sheriff Villanueva announced that all deputies in Lost Hills are required to wear face masks as soon as they leave the station.

One concerned resident asked how officers are coping with the coronavirus pandemic and the civil unrest throughout the county.

Sheriff Villanueva stated, “We’re working our way through these crises, the pandemic, civil unrest, and all the questions about everyone doubting what law enforcement does across the nation… but the deputies at work to serve the community, including Topanga Canyon, are dedicated to the communities they serve and to the mission to provide public safety.”

Another question asked about how officers plan to secure the Canyon during fire evacuations. Captain Salvador Becerra said that he and the officers learned from the Woolsey Fire incident and that if there is another fire emergency, everyone will be asked to lock their doors and a sufficient amount of man power would be provided throughout the Canyon.