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Supervisor Ridley-Thomas Calls for Civilian Oversight of the LASD.

September 28th, 2012 by Celeste Fremon


On Friday, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, announced his intention to seek some strong civilian oversite
for the the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in the form of a citizen oversight commission and an inspector general.

This is, as it turns out, very much in keeping with what the commission unequivocally recommended in its report, and that the commissioners emphasized personally when they each spoke individually.

The Office of Independent Review (OIR) and Special Council Merrick Bobb are not enough, he told me. “They’ve become somewhat toothless.”

What is needed now is fundamental “systemic reform.,” he said. The department needs to transform.

This is from Ridley-Thomas’s statement:

Now that the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence has completed its mission, we can be sure of one thing: The Sheriff’s Department cannot police itself.

That is why I will ask the board to make profound structural changes with regard to oversight of the department and create a system for permanent and independent citizen oversight of our jails.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, I will introduce a Board motion directing the County Counsel and the Chief Executive Officer to assess the viability of establishing both a Citizens Law Enforcement Commission and an Inspector General for the Sheriff’s Dept.

“The commission could be like the LAPD’s police commission or it could be based on another model,” Ridley-Thomas said.

“It’s time. No one should fear it.”

Posted in jail, LA County Board of Supervisors, LASD, Sheriff Lee Baca | 32 Comments »

32 Responses

  1. J.London Says:

    Baca wants to conduct an investigation on the investigation?! Does Baca realize how stupid this make him and the LASD look? There are times, in life, when we need to cut our losses. Baca please step down as to not take us (LASD) down with you! A very sad and tragic day in the history of this organization. As I wrote before it will now start to get much worse!! It will be years before we recover and all because of one man’s ego. We need to start a conversation about who to replace Baca. Maybe we all just love too much?? And that’s why we care!!

  2. Left at the Ball Says:

    People in towers sometimes cannot see the landscape. It seems this is evident now. He, and those with him, figure if they can drag this out it will go away. And without any criminal charges they are right. I said earlier that at the most a Captain will be the fall person, but more likely than not a few Sergeants and some deputies will take the brunt. They will be put out to the press as rogue and out of control. The executives will deny knowledge, even though we all know (yes we all know) they were aware, at least up to Mr. T. Its amazing power corrupts and they get away with it.
    I truly believe the Sheriff will not have any creditability with his troops. To many know the truth

  3. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    God Bless America

  4. J.London Says:

    FTF: I agree, we are going to need God’s blessing!!

  5. Watching the circus go by Says:

    I can tell you this, ALL of this falls at the feet of #1, Paul Tanaka. Hey Paul, are you proud of what you have done? All of your, “Hand selected people” and your monthly meetings of what you really wanted done at MCJ. How’s that working out for you, eh Paul? Think of ALL the good people you screwed who were doing their job, trying to keep the troops out of harms way. How’s that working out for you, eh Paul? Are you proud? The shame and dishonor you and your suck ass shoe shiners, are you proud of the disgrace you personally brought to LASD?

    #2 Hey Baca, you gave the reigns to Tanaka. How’s that working out for you? All of the headache and embarrassment bestowed to you thanks to Tanaka. Your legacy will be of incompetence, delusion and disconnect. All of your executives let you down because they were afraid to tell you about the one man LASD wreaking crew, Paul Tanaka. But then in all fairness, your AKA has been Ali Baca, nomad Sheriff. You legacy is Paul Tanaka. You knew about it long ago and the best you could come up with to put Paul in check was…..promotion. Now live with it.

    When the Feds give you a tap on the shoulder, then reality will set in. More so when you become bunkmates with Corona in Federal prison. Enjoy.

  6. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    And don’t forget the lieutenants that worked for cruz. looks supoenas are on their way, should be interesting what these soles who worked a cush job like malibu lost hills gave up to work the toilet of MCJ with apromise of two bars. aint happening now and one can only hope to stay employed

  7. JB Says:

    Further to Follow – You certainly are the expert at cush non-flying inside jobs. You gave up a career. Like your white peace officers association post says “i’m Justlike dem uh huh”.

  8. No milk today Says:

    I have just completed an in-depth review of the Jail Commission’s completed report. I am pleasantly surprised and relieved at their objectivity and straight forward conclusions. Three specific points stand out;

    1. “Although Tanaka’s future at the Department is beyond the Commission’s mandate, the Commission believes that the Sheriff should consider whether the Undersheriff should have any operational role or be in the chain of command over any part of the Department.” (Reference Page 87-88). NOTE TO READERS: THAT IS ONE HUGE (I’LL CLEAN IT UP) “SCREW YOU TANAKA.” I can’t wait to attend the next staff meeting with Too Tall Paul. That nervous twitch of his, where he crooks his neck every thirty seconds, will probably turn into a spastic repetitive motion. Hey Paul, now it is your turn to experience what you have done to so many others.

    2. At no surprise to anyone inside the organization – Sheriff Baca is (and has been) completely out of touch (for years) with the organization he claims to love.

    3. Commander Bob Olmsted’s concerns about executive mismanagement and incompetence within Custody Division has been COMPLETELY validated.

    As has been reported and commented on within various forums, ALL roads point to Paul Tanaka. If that man had one ounce of integrity, he would resign immediately in complete shame. And for Baca, I want him to hang around to watch the public and news media turn against him. I want to see his ego press him to run for re-election and lose by a landslide. I too want to see Baca leave in shame, shame that he earned.

    And then, there is the FBI investigation. A lot of folks should be quite concerned right now, starting with Baca and Tanaka. Now I am awaiting for Whitmore to spin this report as some kind of win-win for the Sheriff.

    We all owe Olmsted, WLA, the Times and the Jail Commission a debt of gratitude. Particularly to Olmsted where without his courage, NONE of this would have come to light. Thank you sir, you have made a difference. History will be your friend.

  9. J.London Says:

    No Milk: I too have completed reading the report and it’s bad for Tanaka and Baca! But, moreso for an entire family we used to call; The Great LASD. I too thank Commanders Olmsted and Leyva. Not enough thanks to Lieutenant Pat Gomez and all the others, wether in front of the Commission or in various courts, testifying to the TRUTH! It’s still not too late for those of you who drank the Kool-Aid. Come back to the family and do what is RIGHT! For the others who are beyond the point of return, think of your family and get a lawyer!

  10. InterestedParty Says:

    I too read portions of the Commission’s report and noticed their carefully worded and narrowly applied conclusions and recommendations as they pertain to holding top level brass accountable, barring Tanaka from oversight of Custody and discipline, and changing the Department organizational structure. With all due respect to the Commission, their wealth of combined life experience and the hard work they and staff expended to study and attempt to improve LASD, they missed mention of the insidious, whole scale damage on the organization resulting from more than a decade of “in-the-car promotions” by Tanaka and Baca. You can tinker with org charts on paper, but these loyalists, these minions of Tanaka’s, have been injected into the entire fabric of the organization. These loyalty promotions have long-shown these individuals loyal to the man, not the policies and mission of the Department. These individuals have long demonstrated their willingness to skirt policies, procedures and in some cases, the law, to make Tanaka (and Baca) happy, so they (loyalists) can get their next bump. The Commission and the BOS seem little interested in the fact that taxpayer dollars are used to reward loyalty to Tanaka and Baca, not to elevating the best, brightest, most ethical and experienced employees the Department has to provide the best service to the people of the County of LA. Hopefully the FBI investigation is casting a wide net that will expose this and cause other reforms to be implemented.

  11. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    JB, BJ, etc., we know about the inside job stuff from a previous post and FPK1 and MAC got smacked down for the redundency.

    Everyone knows about the allegation of the inside job stuff, my God, it’s been hit on over and over.

    Anyone going to the EPC meeting? I am. Can’t wait.

  12. JB Says:

    Further to Follow – You need some serious help. You have been called out for racial comments by several people, and hammered by Roy Burns for falsehoods about people still on the department. How can you be going to an EPC meeting when you are retired. If you want to be taken seriously you have to quit making up stories. It is embarrassing to think you were once on the department.

  13. pensionreform Says:

    I am pleased to see the advances pension reform is taking. Watching and reading about all the issues with not only sheriff, but all agencies who feel they have an entitlement to rediculous and inflated salaries and pensions.

    As an advocate to reign in these cost savings for the betterment of the state, I hope the supervisors will agree, the high price paid for glorified guards will hopefully curtail all the criminal issues happening in the jails and in management of the sheriff department.

    I honestly can’t see how cops and fireman make so much money, when people who have advanced in education get less than half their salaries. It is truly an issue that hopefully will be coming to an end soon.

    All of you who post here diaplay an arrogance and to some extent ignorance. Calling each other racists, lazy, liars accusing the sheriff of ineptness truly tells me you aren’t worth your government salaries.

    These aren’t the people I wan’t protecting me.

  14. 10-29Henry Says:

    # 10 Interested Party:

    You wrote

    “these minions of Tanaka’s, have been injected into the entire fabric of the organization…these individuals loyal to the man, not the policies and mission of the Department. These individuals have long demonstrated their willingness to skirt policies, procedures and in some cases, the law, to make Tanaka (and Baca) happy…”

    BRAVO. That is such a great summation of what we have on our hands with passengers in the Tanaka car running so many of our bureaus and units.

    As someone who watched his Unit Commander order his troops (myself included) to break the law, I among an intrepid and courageous group, protested. We were told that this was a “Tanaka operation” and we should shut up and do what we were told. This has been too long in coming. Way… too… long.

  15. Civil Servant Says:

    PensionReform: And in one week without us, you would not be able to leave your house. Pure Anarchy would ensue. My Father was in the private sector his whole life, and received a very lucrative pension. Maybe it’s all you advanced degree folks who don’t plan we’ll for retirement who need to look in the mirror and realize your not as smart as your degree implies you are. We pay big bucks into our system and if we plan correctly, we will retire comfortably. Instead of hating on your civil servants who stand in between you and civil unrest, you should go out and consult a financial planner..

  16. Thanks a lot Says:

    #13 pensionreform…….that’s a mighty broad brush you use there! To insult everyone in Fire and Law Enforcement, as undeserving of their pensions.

  17. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    Pension, I have to agree with some stuff, but these “glorified guards” will someday be working in a patrol environment, so they will earn their pay.

    I agree with Baca wanting to create a career path for deputies. I believe everyone who signed up as a deputy isn’t going to cut it as a field deputy. Now we have to accept the “slugs”.

    I believe deputies should get the chance to go through custody or court services and live that life. I do believ though they shouldn’t get paid the same. How can you justify giving a judge his morning paper and coffee and get a 100k for it? Not!

  18. J.London Says:

    FTF: The Correctional Officer plan was tried before and it failed badly. Then when another budget fiasco came along they just “knighted” all the CO’s to Deputies. Imagine having for a sergeant a guy who was frightened to work patrol?! And now deciding whether or not you should get promoted or transferred to a better position. Baca is an idiot!!

  19. FURTHR TO FOLLOW Says:

    Can’t argue with that one Mr. London.

  20. Cognistator Says:

    #14: Today’s on-line LAT has a story reporting that Sheriff Baca held a news conference in which he agreed to implement all of the Jail Commission’s findings. During this news conference the Sheriff displayed a new Departmental organizational chart. A quote from the story: “At the news conference, Baca presented a new organizational chart that showed only administrative services reporting to Tanaka, who the Sheriff said would continue to focus on the Departmental budget.”

  21. 10-29Henry Says:

    # 13 Pension Reform

    “I honestly can’t see how cops and fireman make so much money, when people who have advanced in education get less than half their salaries. It is truly an issue that hopefully will be coming to an end soon.”

    Um, maybe because people with “advanced educations” refuse to work job where people try and put a bullet in their brain as part of a day’s work. (I don’t know what “advanced education” entails, but I have a BA and MA from a University of California school, and I was a cop).

    Spoken like someone who has never had a person jump out of a car and shoot at them with an SKS assault rifle. Spoken like someone who has never had to hug his partner’s wife because his partner was shot in the face for doing his job (that he’s over paid for, according to you).

    Now let’s mention my cousin the firefighter, with 3rd degree burns over 40% of his body, including his genitals, from falling through the floor trying to get to the upper floor of a burning duplex to rescue a trapped paraplegic. He’s over paid too. He’s not entitled to all those benefits he gets now that he can’t work.

    A lot of words come to mind when I see your post on this website. Sniveling, cowardly, ignorant are just a few. Now let’s get to the simple numbers.

    Cops/firefighters in southern California start around 50-70k a year, depending on their education level and the department they start with. They can spend a thirty year career on the department and end said career with a salary of around 130k a year, if lucky. That is a helluva glass ceiling. Private sector jobs don’t have that glass ceiling. Guys I went to college with were out earning me about five or six years in, and never looked back.

    # 15 Civil Servant noted the money we pay into our own retirement programs. It’s a fact. Further, the LA County retirement program, LECERA, is almost completely self funded and was cited by past pension review efforts as a model other pension plans should follow, so don’t cry to me that we’re taking your money.

    And finally, Pension Reform, I point out the worst, most laughable part of your argument. Yeah, let’s cut pay and benefits for cops and firefighters. Because we don’t want to attract any high quality employees for these billets right? We want the lowest common denominator of employees in charge of your liberty and safety, right? (Can you sense my sarcasm, Pension Reform?)

    When you call 911 because someone kicked in your front door and is ransacking your home while you cower upstairs, or while you run around the house in circles not knowing what to do while your kitchen immolates, you want to make sure that the high quality, intelligent, intrepid candidates passed up law enforcement/fire fighting to find better pay and benefits. That will solve all your problems.

    What a joke. What a complete and total joke. I hope you’re embarrassed. You should be. If you aren’t, try some deep self analysis you learned in upper division psychology getting that “advanced education”. Do that, and stay home while cops and firefighters die all over the country, hundreds a year, to keep people like you safe.

  22. FURTHR TO FOLLOW Says:

    You gotta be kidding me? He is the number 2 guy. Ok, so if Tanaka approaches you and wants something done, you politiely tell him it’s not under his area of authority?

    Yeah right.. I told everyone these individuals would take a pile of doo doo and turn it into a rose.

    I agree with the pension post. Things need to get turned upside down and get paid for your worth.

  23. pensionreform Says:

    1029h. Good points, and it sounds like a black cloud follows your every step.

    Private sector employees may make more, but try looking at a social security check and if they are lucky enough, they have a 401(k) plan. They work into their sixties you work into your early to mid fifties.

    As far as the theory of cutting salaries will attract less qualified people, what is the reason for the whole jail commission investigation? Seems pretty obvious to me some people no matter what their salary is aren’t making real good choices.

    And you don’t have to worry about me cowering in my house. I grew up in Brooklyn in a crappy apartment until I was smart enough to put my way through school and get out of the state all together.

    The California suburbs, as you/we call them don’t measure up to anything I lived in. It was a way of life.

  24. Celeste Fremon Says:

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    Various commenters here use multiple screen names. No problem.

    However when a commenter uses two or more names then proceeds, with a straight face, to argue with or praise his or her other self, I begin not letting that nonsense through.

    Just so you know why certain things have suddenly been blocked.

    C.

  25. Coyote Waits Says:

    Pension Reform, I agree. Start with the teachers. Make them pay for their pension, their health care, and life insurance. Then move on to all the bureaus of the State of California. Do the same with them. Make them, and all the cities that gave away the store over the last two decades, follow the LACERA model. If they took the deal, you would see California become fiscally solvent again. But you won’t see that.
    Look at the Chicago teachers, or the Wisconson teachers. Whining, snivelling, shrieking spoiled brats, thowing tantrums and defecating on the floor of the State Capitol because they were asked to pay for a portion of their own retirement. Teachers in California can’t even get 60% of students to graduate from high school. And they want a free ride??

  26. Thanks a lot Says:

    #25 Coyote, Hear, Hear!!! I would also add, “double dipping” into your narrative, along with “Carpet Bagger” politicians. If you eliminated the double dipping problem, that would free up a great deal of funds available. Why should ANYONE collect 3 or 5 separate retirements? If California adopted the LACERA model, I believe this would standardize the retirement system for the state, save millions, if not billions of dollars, and allow the retirement system to be self sufficient!

  27. Lamont Sanford Says:

    Good conversation by some people undoubtedly in the know until the GOP tea party hacks barged their way in.

  28. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    So I presume all my posts are being deleted? Yes or no is all I need to change course.

  29. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Nope. Just your comments in an alternate personality or when, after my warning, you continue to talk to the alternate personality. All your other comments have gotten through.

  30. Cognistator Says:

    27: That’s called “changing the subject,” and undoubtedly there’s an ulterior motive behind it.

    Celeste’s experience with “alternate personalities” is most interesting, and if she can ascertain a reason for that particular phenomenon maybe she can share her finding with the WLA readership?

  31. Truth Says:

    Truth Says:
    October 7th, 2012 at 11:53 am

    This mess started when Baca was elected and falls upon the shoulders of four men, Baca, Stonich, Waldie, and Tanaka. Their leadership style was based upon arrogance, power and a desire to run their own department without any input by the rest of the department leaders.The four of them bagan making decisions on all department matters such as, pomotions, transfers, and discipline. Thus came the “in the car” motto. You were either in the car with them through donations or blind misplaced loyalty to these four men or you were out of the car and anything you supported like honesty, integrity, or superior police work didn’t have a chance. These four men made it clear through their actions and words that you worked for them and not the people of Los Angeles County. The only improvement in the quality of life they we fighting for were their own. They gave resources to people and units based upon heavy hard handed police work and any unit that handled sissy matters such as rape, domestic violence, or child abuse got nothing. The Tanaka in particular, began selecting people for key positions based upon their blind loyalty to him not their training, experience, or ability or committment to the citizens we serve. Baca continued to just turn his head and allow these others to do their thing and create a group of special cigar club people that do just what they want without any repercussions. Tanaka promoted these loyalists so fast that they are now in positions of power without ever really earning their rank or amount of pay. When this jail scandal broke Tanaka put several of his chosen promotees on a review team and does anyone think these Tanaka people will find anything wrong. Just wait and see next week when the pay to play article comes out and see how many of these donators are in key positions and got promoted over and over. This has led to a conspiracy of corruption and all these men and the special promotees must all go. A federal grand jury will begin to expose all this very soon… This is the truth, I lived it….

  32. Hypocrites Says:

    I crack up when a Board of Sups member calls for more oversight. The same ones who habitually abuse their power. Both Yaroslavsky and Ridley-Thomas got caught taking FREE hard to get and very expensive football tickets. What was Ridleys punishment? That’s right, all he had to do was write a check!! What would be a Deputies punishment? Termination, that’s what!!!!!

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