Prez of Law Enforcement Union Writes That Baca Should Fix Problems in LASD, Instead of Hunting Department’s Leakers to MediaJanuary 30th, 2012 by Celeste Fremon
Stop trying to find those Sheriff’s Department insiders who are leaking to WitnessLA and other media outlets, and focus on fixing the problems of “Corruption, abuses of power and ‘codes of silence’” within the department itself, writes PPOA president, Lt. Brian Moriguchi, in a new strongly worded message to Sheriff Lee Baca.
Moriguchi, the head of the board of directors of the PPOA (one of two primary employee unions for Los Angeles Sheriff’s department), wrote the essay—which mentions WitnessLA by name—as part of the President’s message in the January issue of Star & Shield, the PPOA’s monthly magazine.
Here are some clips from the essay:
The past several months have resulted in a barrage of attacks against LASD, from the allegations of deputy abuse in our jails to the corruption and “pay to play” allegations posted on the Internet at www.witnessla.com. To some insiders, these allegations come as no big surprise as rumors of abuses of power by some individuals have circulated within the Department for many years. To other insiders, these allegations are nothing but disgruntled or former employees taking out their anger against the Sheriff ’s Department, or more succinctly, against certain people within the Sheriff ’s Department. Regardless of your position on this heated topic, what is unique is the shift to “release” the information through media channels instead of going through internal channels.
The PPOA prez then talks about how many LASD employees feel that when they try to handle department problems internally, they are met with “cover-ups.”
As a consequence of their “dissatisfaction with the internal process,” LASD deputies are turning to the media—and, in some cases, to lawsuits.
“So how do you put an end to the problem?” asks Moriguchi. His answer:
Sheriff Baca needs to look within, as tough as that may be, and fix the problem whereby employees do not believe things can be resolved internally. Corruption, abuses of power and “codes of silence” need to end before we can begin to rebuild this organization. If not addressed, the Department will be riddled with scandal, face government intervention (i.e., consent decrees and indictments) and take decades to rebuild its once formidable reputation, something none of us wants to see happen. We need to focus less on the leaks and more on the cause of our problems.
Then in another section of the magazine, the PPOA has an article that advises LASD employees as to how they can best protect themselves if they need to act as whistleblowers regarding misconduct within the department.
Here’s the rather interesting editor’s note that precedes the article;
This article was written at the request of PPOA. It is especially timely in view of the current issues affecting custody including WitnessLA reports and L.A. Times articles. If you have concerns about reporting misconduct or “whistleblowing” or want to speak with an attorney, please call PPOA at (323) 261-3010.
The full text of the essay may be found here, beginning on page 4. The whistleblower article starts on page 14.