By Cece Woods, Editor in Chief
On Wednesday, March 16, 2022, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors decision to explore the retrofitting, renovation, and movement of high risk juvenile offenders from the Barry J. Nidorf facility in Sylmar to Campus Kilpatrick, located in the unincorporated Malibu portion of the Santa Monica Mountains. prompted many of our cities, including Malibu, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills to express their concerns regarding the facility and its impact on public safety in our region to Malibu/Lost Hills Station Acting Captain Joe Fender.
Fender assured city officials the safety of our communities is paramount. To that end, Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station is developing a response plan should the facility become endangered or compromised due to a natural disaster, or should one of their offenders escape from the property.
Additionally, Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station contacted the leadership team of Campus Kilpatrick in order to collaborate and discuss the facility’s safety, security, and escape protocols.
“Both the Probation Department and our deputies are working collaboratively to ensure the facility is secure and our communities remain safe. I have complete confidence in both agencies’ protocols and the plans we have in place to mitigate escapes and other emergencies.” said Acting Captain Fender to Malibu Daily News.
The Camp Kilpatrick controversy is the first potentially emergent situation Acting Captain Fender is tackling within weeks of returning to the station.
After two successful years at Lost Hills, former Captain Chuck Becerra, beloved by the community, was transferred to LASD’s Norwalk Station. Sheriff Alex Villanueva, in need of Becerra’s leadership skills there, placed Becerra’s protege Lt. Fender, at the command of the station as Acting Captain.
Fender previously held the position of Detective Bureau Lieutenant at the station and oversaw emergency operations for the region. As a result, Acting Captain Fender is well-versed in the complex landscape of our area. His experience is critical in order to properly command personnel patrolling the unique landscape of the Santa Monica Mountains, knowledge very few in the department have.
Fender’s confidence in the station and the department’s ability to manage this potentially complex issue is reassuring, as are his excellent relationships with local officials in charge of running the five cities the station serves.
Previously, the Board of Supervisors (BoS) proposal to transfer violent youth offenders to its Camp Scott and Scudder locations failed when the people of the surrounding Saugus, California community brought strong resistance when their concerns could not be abated at the town hall held to court the idea of placing such incarcerated youth offenders at the now closed locations.
However, the BoS was able to quietly pass the decision to transfer of these dangerous young criminals to the Malibu location with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl sending out this letter to the community just days before the vote and without properly education residents of the dangers this decision presents to the communities bordering the facility.
One source stated; “With the Department’s current posture of managing violent youth offenders with skeleton crews and the threatening potential for overrun, it is unspeakable of the potential worst that could happen its effect upon the peaceful community of Malibu.”
A staff member at Camp Kilpatrick was severely beaten by a minor who intended to compound his reputation against staff. At press time, no charges were filed by the Department in the defense of its own officer.
“The youth are allowed to be out of control. I have nothing against female staff, but the practice of hiring 5’3 females to supervise 5’10 and 6’3 teenage male gangbangers who have little respect for their own mothers is not an effective plan for supervision.” said a current DSO. “Yes, these offenders are children” said another detention officer, “but be clear these are children who will kill you!”