BACA HIRES A CUSTODY CHIEF?
Sheriff Lee Baca has reportedly chosen Terri McDonald, up until recently the Undersecretary of the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) to be his new Assistant Sheriff in charge of custody. The creation of this post to be filled by a custody expert from outside the department was among the main recommendations made by the Citizens Commission on Jail Violence.
(UPDATE: The selection of McDonald has not yet been officially announced. But LASD spokesman Steve Whitmore has confirmed that McDonald is indeed the sheriff’s choice, that the deal has been made. “She’s excited,” he said. “The board has until February 15 to object, and then it’s a done deal. She has a great resume. And, in addition to her decades of custody experience, she’s a subject matter expert on AB109 since she worked with the governor when it was being written.”
Baca launched the search for a custody head very shortly after the commission delivered its findings at it is to his credit that he has followed through so quickly.
A look at McDonald’s background shows she has had a 24-year career in state government that started as a correctional officer, so she is familiar with the workings of a paramilitary organization and comfortable with the chain of command.
I’ve only done preliminary checking around, but her reputation with CDCR-watchers I spoke with is, thus far, good. “She’s smart, moral, and works very, very hard,” said one. “Incredibly hard working,” agreed another, “and very effective at implementing programs.”
More on McDonald as we learn it.
SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SENDS OUT “MANUAL REVISION” NOTICE REGARDING WEB COMMUNICATIONS THAT IS MAKING DEPARTMENT MEMBERS UNEASY
WitnessLA has obtained a revision to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department manual (see below) that sets down policies regarding conduct on the internet. The memo announcing the changes has reportedly causing many LASD personnel worry that they will be sanctioned for anonymous postings in the comments sections of news sites like WitnessLA, LA Weekly or the Los Angeles Times, if those comments are critical of the sheriff’s department or members of its command staff.
Here are the new sections in question:
3-01/000.10 PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
All Department members shall be held accountable for their utterances, writings, conduct,
and visual representations,including electronic and web-based communications, when
they conflict with Our Core Values, Our Mission, or Our Creed and personnel can
reasonably be identified as Department members. Personnel who cause undue
embarrassment or damage the reputation of and/or erode the public’s confidence in the
Department shall be deemed to have violated this policy.
Unit commanders shall ensure copies of Our Mission, Our Core Values, and Our Creed
are clearly and prominently displayed and maintained in the public lobbies of all Sheriff’s
Unit Commanders shall ensure copies of Our Mission, Our Core Values, and Our Creed
are clearly and prominently displayed and maintained within a high-traffic work area in all
Sheriff’s Department’s facilities (e.g., briefing room) for viewing by assigned personnel.
3-01/000.15 ELECTRONIC AND WEB-BASED COMMUNICATIONS
Electronic and web-based communications include any medium used to deliver
information electronically or digitally. Examples of electronic and web-based
communications include, but are not limited to, websites, “smart” phone technologies, text
messaging, Nixle, electronic mail (email) and “social media” sites such Facebook,
Myspace, Pinterest, and Twitter; photo sharing websites such as Flickr; video sharing
websites such as YouTube; and/or any other similar electronic or digital delivery system.
“Social media” includes any electronic medium where users may create, share, and view
user-generated content, including uploading or downloading videos or still photographs,
blogs, video blogs, podcasts, or instant messages, or online social networking content.
We talked to LASD spokesman Steve Whitmore about the new rules and he said there was nothing to worry about. “This is by no stretch an attempt to abridge anybody’s First Amendment rights,” Whitmore said. “It’s just to say, ‘Be careful. It’s the wild, wild west out there.’ I mean most people are anonymous anyway when they post comments—and there’s nothing wrong with that,” he said. “At least people believe they’re anonymous.”
Mostly, said Whitmore, “it’s just a reminder that you represent the entire agency, so behave accordingly.”