LOS ANGELES- At least four suburban law enforcement departments have been spotted dropping off people who appeared to be homeless on the city's downtown streets, authorities said.
"Capt. Andrew Smith said he and his partner saw sheriff's deputies drop off a man Tuesday in a downtown Los Angeles neighborhood where many homeless shelters are located.
Police and downtown officials have long suspected that law enforcement agencies from outside the city were using the downtown neighborhood as a dumping ground for homeless people. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Police Department ordered officers to stop out-of-area police cars they spotted dropping people off.
"The bottom line is, the service providers in downtown and the skid row area cannot accommodate all the intoxicated, drug-addicted and homeless individuals from all over the county," Smith said.
Officials from three of the departments _ El Monte, El Segundo and Pasadena _ said dumping was common years ago but is now banned. They offered to investigate if the LAPD would provide details.
Officials from the fourth suburb, Burbank, declined to comment.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has defended the deputies who tried to leave a homeless man downtown Tuesday, saying they were only trying to help the man get social services.
The department's Office of Independent Review will nonetheless begin an investigation "to find out what happened here," said Michael Gennaco, head of the review office.