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WitnessLA Reportedly Now Blocked on Sheriff’s Dept. Work Station Computers

March 15th, 2012 by Celeste Fremon

If you work at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department,
when you are taking a break at work (unless you are driving, say, a patrol car), with rare exceptions, you may use a department computer to log on to Facebook, check out the latest video going viral on YouTube, buy some new shoes on Zappos, bid for some Springsteen tickets on eBay, read the latest news on the LA Times website, Huffington Post, Drudge, Wired, Breitbart, the LA Weekly or LA Observed.

But, reportedly, as of February 22, at most LASD work stations you may no longer access WitnessLA.

Since September when we launched Matt Fleischer’s Dangerous Jails investigation into the systemic problems in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, WitnessLA began drawing a significant readership from the ranks of those who work for the department, a readership that has continued to grow. Deputies logged on from their home computers, their PDAs and, in lots of cases it seemed, from some department computer or other.

LASD folks came in the beginning (we presume) to read our investigative reports on the department and related topics but, as time went on, they also came to participate in—or simply to observe—the ongoing conversation among department personnel, working and retired, in WLA’s comments section. The exchanges are lively, sometimes angry, occasionally snarky, quarrelsome and gossipy, but nearly always very informative

We knew that department personnel were reading us from their workstations because WLA subscribes to a very good tracking service (in addition to Google Analytics) that allows us to observe and analyze reader patterns and the like. Thus we can see when people log in from the LASD system—as they did, by the hundreds.

Then on Wednesday February 22, we began getting emails from deputies and supervisors telling us that WitnessLA had been blocked on LASD computers that could formerly accessthe site.. After these messages reached critical mass, I checked the tracker, and sure enough the log-ins from the LASD IP addresses fell off a cliff late on that Wednesday in February.

There was still a trickle coming through on Thursday, but even that was gone by Thursday evening.

We waited a week, thinking it might be a momentary glitch, but according to a slew of department sources, the block never came off. After months of being able to access WitnessLA, the ability to pull up our URL was precipitously shut down, while most other websites were available as usual.

Our electronic measurements showed the same thing that the deputies continued to report.

It should be noted, by the way, that Wednesday Feb. 22—the day deputies reported that they could no longer get on the WLA site—-was also the day that both the LA Times and the Daily News reported that LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina had, the day before, introduced a motion at the Supes’ meeting prohibiting county managers from soliciting campaign contributions from their underlings, and that she cited WitnessLA as part of the reason. Specifically, Molina told reporters that her motion had been triggered by concerns she felt after reading WLA’s reports on an alleged pay-for-play promotions scheme being overseen by Undersheriff Paul Tanaka.

Sure, it could be just a coincidence and all, but the peculiarity of timing could not help but catch our attention.

In any case, yesterday when I asked Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore about the fact that WLA was reported blocked, he said he wasn’t aware of any such action, and that deputies might be talking about computers that don’t have Internet access at all.

I explained that, no, that the people who contacted us said that they used to be able to access WLA regularly without a problem, but that since that particular Wednesday in question, access had been cut off, while most other sites were available as usual. I also told him that I had my own electronic record that showed months of very high traffic from certain LASD IP addresses—to the tune of hundreds of hits per day—and then none at all.

Whitmore said I seemed to be implying that WitnessLA was blocked specifically.

“Uh, well, yes,” I said. “That is what I’m implying.”

“I don’t believe that to be true,” Whitmore said. “WitnessLA is not something that this sheriff’s department is all that interested in. It’s not that relevant. It’s not on our radar. I’m not sure the sheriff knows what it is.”

Alrighty then.

So there you have it.

Posted in LASD, Sheriff Lee Baca, THE LA JUSTICE REPORT | 52 Comments »

52 Responses

  1. Welcome to the party Says:

    You now have something in common with ALADS, the deputies union. Their website was previously blocked on LASD computers also. You’re in good company. If the Sheriff doesn’t like what’s on your website, you’re banned. That’s his right. Is he using good judgement in doing that? You be the judge.

  2. The public Says:

    Celeste – You told me not to make anymore comments about sheriffs using computers at work and I honored that. But then you write a whole story about it. I feel compelled to try to comment about this story.

    These are are taxpayer funded computers using taxpayer funded internet. That is inappropriate. If you were in the private sector at work on a site that maligns the execs of your company you would be fired. No one would block the site. You would be out of a job. Why would you think government employees should be any different?

    Do you really expect taxpayers to support sheriffs complaining about each other on the internet while we pay them to work? Do you really think their IT crew checked the time spent on the Wit LA site and found that it only coincided with established breaks? Is there a reason they can’t wait until you get home and then look at anything they want on the internet. Do we not not pay the sheriffs enough to at least get that much respect for the public from them?

  3. GeneralHutHut Says:

    The department has every right to limit what can be seen on dept computers and I think most of us get that. The real story here is just how out of touch Baghdad Bob appears to be. That, or he has a major credibility problem. This guy is supposed to be the mouthpiece for the department? It’s not like access was denied yesterday and this is all new. Is Whitmore even a deputy? Because if the county is paying this guy as some type of a “media specialist” the county should demand a refund.

  4. car 1 where are you?? Says:

    This just keeps getting better and better. The fourth floor’s dirty laundry is being aired out for all to see and blocking the WLA website is the best they can do?? Whatever happened to addressing the source and fixing the problem? Then you have Steve “Baghdad Bob” Whitmore denying the obvious. Can’t the sheriff find somebody more credible and qualified to handle his press business? Celeste, when will the next part be released? It would be interesting to see how much these “special talented” reserves paid to campaigns and how many reserve hours they logged compared to the average reserve. I’d bet Ms Molina and the rest of the board would find those numbers interesting.

  5. Common Sense Says:

    #2 – You are absolutely right!! Public Employees SHOULD be blocked from sites like this at work. That’s what after hours and days off are for. If you’re off work, blog away!

    Great Job LASD!!

  6. wewillrocku Says:

    Seriously Whitmore? Really???!!! You truly are the Baghdad Bob of LASD.

    Celeste, there’s an old saying in law enforcement when dealing with someone who just can’t seem to tell the truth, even when caught red-handed. It goes something like this; “Your lips are moving, so you must be lying.”

    Be careful Whitmore, your lips are moving.

  7. Woody Says:

    Years ago, I had a similar problem with an employee wasting time playing solitaire on the computer when I was away, so I removed games from the computers. She was like a mad, wet cat the next day when she tried to access the game.

    I have a friend with a larger firm who monitors internet access of his employees, and, if one goes to a site that is not related to work, that site instantly pops up on my friend’s screen, and he quickly pops into their office.

    It’s all within good business practices to enhance production.

    You can retaliate by blocking the LASD on your computer. That’ll show them!

    Hey, wait a minute! You blocked me and a lot of others from commenting before, so don’t act so indignant.

  8. Woody Says:

    Incidentally, I just noticed in the next post that your commie comment filter blocked a comment from me.

  9. Dulce Says:

    Celeste you just got a taste of her own medicine. You and your cohorts regularly censor comments from the people. Dulce had been a victim of your censorship many times. You are upset because about 90 % of your readers are now blocked. Bye bye.

  10. InterestedParty Says:

    Re: “The public” and Information Control – Computers in the workplace have become a common piece of equipment over the last couple of decades. Internet access from these computers in both the private and public sector are also now the norm. I agree with “The public” that work is work, and play is play. Public should know LASD has long-established policy on the use of Department computer equipment. When/if an employee is abusing the general practice of allowing someone to check their personal email, or briefly view a website on their lunch break, depending on the severity and type of usage, that employee could be subject to discipline ranging from a written reprimand to termination of employment. I am personally aware of the Department meting out discipline throughout this range for these policy violations.

    The broader point of this WitnessLA article is Department management’s response to the revelations coming across this website’s pages. The reality that some LASD boss ordered the site blocked, but apparently not other internet sites, speaks volumes about their concern how WitnessLA will harm their ability to maintain power and maintain control of information dissemination. The real issue is about information and who gets to be informed about it and who is trying to secret it.

    Both Hqtrs. Bureau Capt. Mike Parker and Steve Whitmore owe their positions to successfully pandering to megalomaniacs Leroy Baca and Paul Tanaka. I personally spoke with Mike about the corruption several years ago and he tried to just dismissively chuckle it off. Here’s a guy who enjoys and is good at standing behind a podium and TALKING. He did a great job as Department spokesman on the Glendale Metrolink tragedy several years ago. There are facets about Mike that are legitimately beneficial to LASD. However, over the two decades I’ve known him, he’s gone from being a “nice guy,” a smart and articulate guy, to a guy whose personal ambitions propelled him into compromising what I believe was once good personal ethics. He’s now someone who is sitting with Tanaka and Baca, strategizing how best to frame the picture of the mess that is now LASD. He’s waist deep with these creeps. And Whitmore, well, that guy never had Mike Parker’s prior ethics. He’s the son of an actor Leroy was star-struck over and who he felt compelled to award with a high-paying Department spokesperson job. Whitmore’s responses to questions regarding corrupt activities by LASD Executives are so transparently and sophomorically contrived mischaracterizations or out and out lies that he should find other employment. He’s not serving the Department and citizens of Los Angeles County he’s paid that high salary to serve – nor is Mike.

    None of the current condition of LASD, the corruption, the silence of our Sheriff and Undersheriff, the plunge in morale, the problems with use of force at MCJ, can continue to flourish with an open, transparent flow of information. If you’ll notice, neither Leroy Baca or Paul Tanaka have peeked out from behind the protective curtain provided by spokespersons Mike Parker or Steve Whitmore, to speak openly and honestly about what is going on. As long as media like WitnessLA and the LA Times continue to expose bits and pieces of what’s going on, guys like Mike and Steve will unashamedly craft and spin and twist and defend their bosses. The time is coming when their arrogance will betray them.

  11. Both sides of the coin Says:

    I can see both sides of this argument. However, one can access virtually all legitimate web sites from a work station. I have personally seen executives access eBay to purchase tickets and golf clubs, play games as well as other non-work related sites.

    As mentioned before, when ALADS supported Ken Masse for Sheriff, someone on the 4th floor ordered the ALADS website blocked from all LASD computers. Now Witness LA has been blocked as well, (although I bet the brass and their staff have access so they can read the stories). Celeste, Bagdad Bob’s reply of disrespect speaks volumes of how he and they really feel about WitnessLA. They are pissed that employees are speaking out on the executive misconduct that has been occurring for the last twelve years. How dare employees do such a thing. How dare employees speak out against the little Tyrant Tanaka and not worship Ali Baca, the Nomad Sheriff.

  12. Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.15.12 | LA News Talk Radio Says:

    [...] Sheriff’s deputies and other staffers say their work computers have been blocked from reading Celeste Fremon’s Witness LA website, which investigates the department and the jails. Her logs show the traffic from LASD work stations dropped off a cliff on Feb. 22. WLA [...]

  13. Welcome to the party Says:

    My god, besides being a verbal buffoon this Whitmore is a real piece of work.
    Not interested in WLA? Not relevant? So why ban it as opposed to other websites?
    This is just another example of this guys blunders. How many deputies did Lee Baca have to choose from to get a spokesperson? Yet he chooses this guy. Whitmore isn’t a deputy. I believe he’s the son of James Whitmore the actor.
    Another case of Baca’s very poor judgement regarding somebody with or connected to star power. Mike Parker is three times the spokesperson Whitmore is rather you like him or not. And yet, Baca chooses to spend the taxpayers money by paying this guy Whitmore. Favor to a friend(s)?
    By the way, I don’t recall the previous sheriff having a paid non-deputy as a spokeperson. He made use of the resources available to him without wasting more taxpayers money to pay some arrogant idiot to do a job there were others he was already paying far more qualified to do the job than Whitmore.
    Mr. and Ms. Public, this is a perfect example of a politician abusing his position of power and spending your money foolishly. Sheriff Baca has showed extremely poor judgement where these connected people with star power are concerned.
    Celeste, check out the Scott Zacky of Zacky Farms story. Sheriff Baca is indeed, as one commentor previously put it, Starstruck.
    This guy Whitmore needs to go. Total waste of money.

  14. The public Says:

    Even if you disregard the financial aspect, how could the sheriffs not block the Wit LA site? You have anonymous, unsubstantiated personal and professional attacks, by name, against numerous individuals that currently are sheriffs. I will not use the name, but just one example I read was “Chief so and so was drinking on duty with another sheriff employee who got drunk in her presence. The Chief let the drunk employee drive away and get arrested.”

    How can the sheriff’s let comments like that be seen in the workplace. There is no difference in these comments on a computer screen and someone posting a note on a desk that said Chief so and so did this, that and the other. Other sheriffs working in the area can see this. They work for or around the chief in question. This would create a hostile work environment and is illegal. Even if it wasn’t illegal, it would create a very disruptive work place and good business practice would dictate its removal.

  15. this guy gets paid???? Says:

    “WitnessLA is not something that this sheriff’s department is all that interested in”

    Interested enough to ban it.

    “It’s not on our radar”

    But they banned it.

    “I’m not sure the sheriff knows what it is.”

    Might be true. lol They could tell him.
    Whitmore might just as well told you: “F_ _k off lady. I don’t like you”.

    How much does this guy get paid?

  16. Maxwell Smart Says:

    Blocked internet access, who cares? It’s their system.
    Lists of “probable” pay2play participants, reaks of unethical activities. The “WE know who you are” statement is an admission of guilt, or at a minimun an acknowledgement of the existence of a secret club. Who is WE? The promotion of Leyva seems odd, especially given nearly a decade of freeway therapy. The question I have is this: Where is Abrams? I don’t work Region II so I can’t claim any police knowledge, but I do know that when a crook is arrested and there is no record of that arrest to be found – anywhere, that crook is working with the authorities. So, where is she? Snitchin’? One more thing; you can kill the BS about pensions, airing dirty laundry, and who’s calling shots on the Department. Everyone knows nothing has changed, otherwise there would be real names associated with all these comments, instead of cute pseudonyms and symbols. One more “last” thing, Interested Party your post are too damn long, you lose me after the first 1000 words. Get a TV or a puppy…damn! My real name….yeah right…..Agent 86!

  17. Sorry bout that chief Says:

    “WE know who you are” sounds like a threat to me.

    I think WLA should ask Steve Whitmore about Bernice Abram. Can’t you just hear him now.
    “Who? Never heard of her. She’s not on our radar. She’s no more relevant than WLA”.

  18. Shawshank Redemption Rocks! Says:

    Hey 86, I agree, Interested Party thinks he is a great pontifimacator. I can’t take much more than a couple lines of his crap anymore. You gotta forgive him though. He’s just one of the angry dopes who retired butt hurt. He always liked to talk like that when he was the w/c too.

    And please Interested P, stop trying to suck up to Parker now. Need a spokesperson ally or something? Or are you just doing it to dig at Whitmore, since he is a dedicated employee, who was never looking for a promotion. Wow there’s a concept.

    Whitmore has a news media background. That’s what he did for a living before the Sheriff hired him. God, what was the Sheriff thinking? Hire a media guy to handle media stuff? Geez, Baca must be a stoopud, lik yur tellin us, cuz yur obveouzly smertest.

    The fact that his father was an actor…we’re gonna somehow hold that against him!? Really? Sheriff starstruck by that? Come on, you’re gonna have to do better than that.

    The desperation is starting to show. Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain lists coming out soon. Can’t wait to see who’s in the car!!!! And just how much they paid for the promotions!!!! Whoop Whoop!!!!

    Nobody cares more about law enforcement and LASD than you guys do!!! See you all at the Round Up!!! We can talk some more trash!!!

    Pathetic bunch

  19. Both sides of the coin Says:

    Unless someone knows factually (I don’t), perhaps the FBI’s Public Integrity Unit still has the Abram’s case and if so, she may be singing like a canary. That will take the entire investigation out of the hands of ICIB and really, LASD.

    The Feds drag their feet but if and when she is indicted by the Feds, LASD is obligated to serve her with an 18.01 suspension letter aka ROD WITHOUT PAY. If enough information is released in the indictment, IAB can package up a case without interviewing her and send it to the Case Review Board and terminate her for cause. The “one year” clause of 3300 Calif Government Code (stating an administrative IA case must be adjudicated within 365 days of the Department “discovering” a violation) is NOT applicable because, on-going “criminal investigation” stops the clock. So as long as the Feds sit on this, the stop-watch hasn’t started.

    But I agree, it has been a long time now. I think we all would like to know what is really going on and who actually has the investigation. If it is the Feds, we will never hear a peep out of them until it is time for their press conference. And of course, we would all like to know the facts, not the rumors.

  20. Top of the Mountain Says:

    In regards to Abrams, Federal charges many times don’t show up on a typical criminal history check. They wont show up on the internet inmate locater either. The FBI will seldom provide any information in regards to their investigations especially if it involves corruption. Word in the yard is that she is cooperating. Interesting times ahead.

  21. Say what? Says:

    Post #19 – How does this tidbit of information even remotely relate to WitnessLA reportedly being blocked from Sheriff’s Department work station computers??????????

  22. gimmeabreak Says:

    Is Whitmore working for the sheriff or is he secretly trying to run the public relations into the ground? In one of those scenarios, he could be a genius.

  23. Both sides of the coin Says:

    #19, my comments are not related to Baghdad Bob Whitmore. Someone in one of the above posts made a comment about Abrams and I just threw some info on the line. #20, you are correct. I have no info she has been booked or indicted, yet. If she has, it is 10-29-H because she must be singing. But that will come out in the wash with facts, I don’t care about rumors.

    No one deserves to be tried by B.S. rumor. This administration along with the Cigar Club crowd have made “rumor mongering” an art form as it fits their agenda to destroy people who are simply doing their job. When it is someone on their hit list, it’s a laugh and high-five time in-between puffs of their cheap cigars. But when one of them catches a rumor or better yet, a factual rumor, then there is outrage on their part. That is why WLA is banned and Baghdad Bob has nothing to say. They can’t stand that someone has the stones to say something or expose their misconduct/corruption.

    Can you imagine if Baca and Tanaka were forced to hold a press conference and forced to answer each of the factual allegations reported in WLA and the Comment posts? Better yet, both have to answer in public to the BOS, WLA and the Times to very specific questions with no slack for BS answers. Now that would make for a great 60 Minutes prime time broadcast.

  24. Common Sense Has Left the Building Says:

    You’re right Say What Say What! The conversation needs to stay on topic. Like it was when we were writing all of our sanctimonious bs under the storyline about the racist AV deputies and the never ending brutal, racist deputy gang stuff. That was much more fun.

    And despite that AV defender Common Sense’s pitiful attempt to refute it, by letting us all know that he was a hard worker, not a cigar smoking region II circle jerker, its all true. Everything you read here is true. Just like everything Baghdad Steve says is true.

    Oh yeah, for my comment on this topic: Lots of sites are blocked by employer’s filters. If you think that you have a right to use work computers to surf whatever web sites you want, whenever you’re on “your break,” I would implore you to listen to your mother and put that hockey helmet on before you leave the house.

  25. Just in Says:

    Another LASD Captain and unit is under investigation. Check out the L.A. TImes regarding the Sheriff’s Air Unit and it’s commanding officer, Captain Duran.

  26. Sorry bout that chief Says:

    Wow Shawshank #18. What an indictment of your fellow sworn LASD members. Over 9,000 of them and not ONE can do Steve Whitmore’s job. It was necessary for the sheriff to go outside the department and hire him for the job.
    As far as your5 statement:
    “Geez, Baca must be a stoopud, lik yur tellin us, cuz yur obveouzly smertest.”

    Dam. You showd me. You is obveeisly da smartiss dude in diss diskushin. You da man. You musta bin da kaptin of yer deebait teem in colege.

    Now then. Can we go back to discussing/debating things like adults instead of junior high kids?

  27. Wyatt Earp Says:

    I was surprised the department allowed the site to be accessed from LASD computers for as long as they were….I just hope the investigative work does not slow down.

  28. Heads or Tails Says:

    Ed Cook. Now there’s a reliable source. Couldn’t even run Catalina without making everyone miserable. So he was removed by the inept Baca and evil Tanaka. If it wasn’t for those two, man he would’ve shown everyone what a great leader he is. But Both Sides of the Coin has already reminded us that its the evil cigar club conspiracy. God, hold a press conference to refute allegations on a blog. Brilliant. Both Sides you should’ve been promoted a long time ago. Sorry the evil club is holding you back too.

    According to County Counsel, the lawsuit is the result of a “disgruntled former employee…allegations are meritless, based on gossip and innuendo.” Wow, Ed must be a regular contributor here. Hi Ed!

    But just for the record Just In, your comment has nothing to do with this particular blog topic, so get it together man.

  29. Soory bout that chief Says:

    Sheriff starstruck by that? Come on, you’re gonna have to do better than that.

    Fair enough. Let’s go where the evidence takes us. Here in the land of the rich and famous, it would be easy for the Sheriff or LAPD Chief to cater to celebrities who wanted to be connected to law enforcement.
    Let’s see now, we’ll only go back three of each prior to the previous sheriff and chief. Block, Pitchess, Biscailuiz
    did not feel the need to start a “Celebrity Reserve Program”.
    Bratton, Parks, Williams did not feel the need for it.
    Just Baca.
    The Celebrity Reserve Program was Baca’s idea.
    That’s a fact.

    Forgive me #18 for not being as intelligent as you and only having the mental capacity to state that which appears obvious based on facts to the lowly layman such as myself. We can’t all be as in the know and and be so enlightened regarding that which isn’t simple fact like yourself.
    Some of us poor idiots just have to rely on the evidence.

    That good enough for you?

  30. Just in Says:

    Heads or Tails, lets talk facts. Cook was assigned to Catalina to suppress gang activity. (check with the deputies assigned there.) As a reward for a good job, Baca moved him to the Air Unit (a place which normally you couldn’t get to unless you were “in the car”). The cigar club and the need to be “in with Tanaka” is well known throughout the Department. When was the last time you saw a job Teletype for any specialized positions within the Department (no need, Tanaka already has them filled.) Osborne, Hansen, Cook, all had outstanding records and good jobs throughout their careers. But when they point out wrong doings within the Department, they were immediately deemed as “disgruntled employees”. If their statements are completely fabricated and are only based on being disgruntled, why does the Department Executives settle instead of fight the allegations? And finally, why is there no transparency at the top. Witmore has already been caught in more than one lie on issues he later had to recant. Why did the Sheriff hire a civilian spokesman instead of using a sworn staff member. Could it be that he couldn’t find a sworn member who was willing to sacrifice his or her credibility. Read his comments about the take home cars for reserves, that’s why Witmore speaks for the Sheriff. Can you really believe what he states to the press.

  31. Fact check Says:

    Post 27 get your facts correct prior to posting. From the L.A. Times archives – Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz, who also started the California Highway Patrol, had hundreds of special deputy sheriff’s with badges among celebrities, members of the media and political activists.

  32. Thanks a lot Says:

    Sorry bout that chief….you nailed it! With “El Jefe”, everything seems to revolve around celebrities. As you mention, none of the previous Sheriff’s had “celebrity reserve program”, or for that matter, a civilian “spokeshole” who answers only to “El Jefe”. LAPD draws from their ranks for POI’s, as we used to. And to the poster who says “Whitmore is a loyal employee, who is not bucking for promotion”…..PROMOTION to WHAT!!?? Head Spokeshole? He is not sworn, what “other” positions would he be promotable to? It seems the Baca “apologists” want this to go away, and go away soon, so to better protect their fiefdoms……but the light of day is coming, and coming soon!!!

  33. Fact check Says:

    “Many celebrities, including actor James Garner and former pop music star Bobby Sherman, are LAPD specialist reserve officers. Sherman teaches first aid and CPR at the Police Academy and Garner emcees police functions. One of the best things about the program, say LAPD, is that it costs very little. LAPD Specialist reserves are paid only $15 a month, and most turn the money over to a police fund.”

  34. Welcome to the party Says:

    What’s the status of the Special (celebrity) Reserve Program now? Oh, that’s right. It was discontinued in 1999.
    How long did it last before it was abundantly clear that the sheriff made a piss poor decision to start this program? He was sworn in Dec. 98.
    Didn’t take too long for those Special folks to start waving their guns around and showing up at crime scenes playing police.
    All anyone has to do is a computer search of Sheriff Baca’s celebrity (as it is most commonly known) resrve program and it will be easy to see what a joke it was.
    Hell for that matter we’ll just quote the sheriff himself regarding the program: “We messed up, and we fixed it”.
    And none of his underlings had the foresight to tell him it was a bad idea before the screw ups by these folks who got badges and guns for being, uh, Special?
    Right there is a perfect example of what’s wrong with being unabashedly loyal to the sheriff (good decisions or bad). Nobody tells him when one of his ideas is a real doozy.
    The Special Reserve Program was a doozy that could have been easily avoided had his underlings had the stones to tell him he was fixing to make the department and himself look bad. Nobody can convince me that those three other men who had ascended to the rank of Undersheriff and two Assistant Sheriff’s didn’t have the foresight to see it coming. They aren’t foolish men who lack foresight are they? I think they are smart men or they wouldn’t have made it as far as they did. I think they didn’t want to tell their boss: “Whoa. What are you thinking? This will be a disaster and here’s why” because they were worried about losing their job.
    It’s called Blind Loyalty. It leads to problems like the Special Reserve Program.
    It’s an age old predicament that many good people find themselves in. Many of these people choose to keep their mouth shut to keep their position.
    As far as whether or not Baca is Starstruck, based on his actions it’s pretty hard to make a logical argument against it. But hey, those that believe otherwise and those that are blindly loyal to the sheriff can give it their best shot.

  35. Thanks a lot Says:

    Okay “Fact check”, check this, how many “celebrity” LAPD Officers have brought discredit to their department? How many of our Sheriff’s Department “Celebrity reserves” have not only brought discredit, but have not attended ANY academy courses?? One incident I recall involved a “celebrity badge” holder pulling his piece on a golf course because the party ahead was going “too slow”…..Remember that one?? Yaaa great program!!!

  36. Things that make you go hmmmmmm. Says:

    Word in the yard is that Gil Carrillo is the new Chief of Police for The City of San Fernando. Any thoughts?

  37. Things that make you go hmmmmmm. Says:

    Worked for Ed Cook many years back. Good guy. He must have gotten a serious raw deal.

  38. Soory about that Interested Party Says:

    So Pitches and Block never had a celebrity program. But are directly responsible for the mess the Department has been in for 25 years due to Bowman. In fact, there would be no “car” without them. The list for sergeants and lieutenants would still go numerically, not banded.

    And the celebrity program was started in 98 and ended in 99. Wow, doesn’t take that guy long to learn when he’s made a mistake. Wish we could say the same about Pitches and Block.

    But ‘Just In’ says he was ambitious, and ‘Just In’ is an honorable man. So are they all, all honorable men.

  39. Fact check Says:

    Party and Thanks a lot – Read from post 31 on. Celebrity programs have existed since the 1950′s on the Sheriff’s Department and LAPD. This included all Sheriff’s from Biscailuz on and all modern day LAPD Chiefs. I am not saying they are good. But they certainly can not be blamed on any one Sheriff or LAPD Chief, unless you blame the first ones who started the programs.

  40. The Chief's coattails are gone Says:

    Hey I feel for you sorry…chief. Debate like adults rather than junior high kids? Come on Dr. Martin. 99% of the comments on this site, including yours, despite their obvious eloquence, are on the level of junior high kids. I think he was mocking you. But you’re smart enough to already know that.

    Now can we please get back to the discussion about all the brutal, racist deputies, and whether or not the pickle puffers are controlling the Department. That is adult stuff.

  41. Welcome to the party Says:

    I am not saying they are good.

    No you’re not. You’re just defending with vigor Baca’s decision to start one. By the way, there are different levels of reserves. Perhaps you can give us all some examples of any previous chief or sheriff doing EXACTLY what it was Baca did. He instituted a specific, SPECIAL Reserve Program where it was DESIGNED to enlist celebrities and influential people in the community. Their hiring process and background checks were expedited in order to get around P.O.S.T. requirements that were soon going to be raised in order for reserves to meet the training criteria.
    Baca saw them as “special” and he damn sure treated them as special.
    You can’t argue that fact. It’s a fact. “Normal” reserves don’t get that treatment.

    Fact check, here you go.

    From the LA Times 11-20-99 regarding the Sheriff’s Special Reserve Program

    “Dennis Slocumb, president of the union that represents the department’s sergeants and lieutenants, said the latest arrest is further proof that the department pushed through the celebrity reserves, who are essentially business owners and others, some with ties to the sheriff. The department was so eager to avoid a new state law tripling the amount of training for reserves that it rushed the so-called celebrity deputies through the normal screening process. The reserves were given less training, no polygraph tests and, in some cases, were assisted with paperwork by deputies who went to their homes to help. “How many more arrests do we need until we realize this wasn’t a good idea?” he said. “They hurried the background checks, they hurried the training and now they’re paying the price.”

    Capt. Doyle Campbell, who oversees the reserve program, declined to comment Friday. But he has said previously that although the background investigations were expedited, they were not incomplete. After Zacky was relieved of duty in September, sheriff’s officials learned for the first time that he had a previous weapons conviction.

    There you go. When you can show me some evidence that other department leaders have done shit like this I’ll stfu. Until then, you might want to rethink your need to so vigorously defend Sheriff Baca’s decision to start this program.

  42. Fact check Says:

    Re-read the prior posts. They have all done it in the past. Starting in the 1950′s Biscailuz made hundreds of special deputy sheriff’s among celebrities, members of the media and political activists. He gave them all badges without any training. LAPD Parker started with actors like Jack Web. They also had no training and got badges. What academy did James Garner and Bobby Sherman go through?

  43. Well Allow Me To Retort Says:

    Hey Welcome. Go enjoy St. Patty’s day. Or do you not celebrate that? Easy to forget about the discrimination against that bunch, ay? You and your buddies are out of control today.

    The Celebrity Reserve Program was initiated…and promptly cancelled. Can we please bring back Jesus. He didn’t make any mistakes. Oh yeah, they killed him too.

  44. Welcome to the party Says:

    Well, if the “program” was a good idea, it would still be in place. Everybody makes mistakes, and the sheriff himself admitted he made one with this program.
    “We messed up, and I fixed it”.

  45. Welcome to the party Says:

    “The Celebrity Reserve Program was initiated…and promptly cancelled.”

    special attn. to “initiated”.

    That’s not a retort, it’s an affirmation. My position was that Baca started the program. THANKS!!!

    Happy St. Patty’s Day to you and yours.

  46. Lone wolf Says:

    Enough with the secret reserve stuff already, please.

  47. Left at the Ball Says:

    Wow. Talk about junior high stuff.
    Jack Webb was a Special Reserve Officer who attended police functions, he was PR cop. He also donated a lot of money to LAPD’s Academy. He also helped recruit numerous people into Law Enforcement. Sherman taught first aid.
    Ok people a little reality check, the Sheriff’s “celebrity” reserves did none of that. They were bad PR and bad for the department, that is why they don’t exist.
    If you are going to vent, go to a coffee shop and vent. But don’t turn this into some type of political debate about non facts and BS.
    It is very obvious that some of you are taking your opinions and trying to make facts out of them, when you do that you sound like them, and you lose credibility.

    Have a great day

  48. Thanks a lot Says:

    Left at the Ball. You missed the entire point……the POINT IS that the “celebrity reserves” STARTED, and INITIATED by Baca, was the beginning of his list of “ERRORS”, and “MISJUDGMENTS”, that continue to this day, and you know damned well what I’m talking about! Do you need a list? I’m sure you could populate it just off the top of your own head.

  49. Welcome to the party Says:

    EXACTLY Thanks a lot
    The other point is that the sheriff doesn’t “expedite” the backgrounds of regular reserves, but he did these “well connected or celebrities”. Hence, if he’s not Starstruck, which was how this debate began (see post 18), why would he make such as obvious and foreseeable error in judgement where these people were concerned?
    If you were a celebrity you could get a badge and gun with little to no training and an “expedited” background check; so lacking that they failed to find a previous arrest for weapons violations by Scott Zacky. Who later ended up waving his pistola around and embarrassing the sheriff.
    And all of LASD.
    Ok, I’ve made my point I think. I’m done.

  50. Pointless Says:

    Hey, welcome to the party, you were done a long time ago. That’s why instead of working for a living, you’re sitting home spouting off a bunch of trivial nonsense about a short lived program terminated long ago. Putting it in caps may make you feel better, but it doesn’t make it any more worthy of serious discussion. And ‘thanks a lot’ for making yourself look like a dope again, because left at the ball was actually arguing for your side…that all of the other celebrity reserve programs ever created were positive, while Baca’s was only negative. Left at the ball is cherry picking his facts, in both directions, but whatever. The 99% here seem to do that on a regular basis. Peace. Pension reform now.


    The celebrity reserves is alive and well. Just ask all of them who got nailed in a POST audit and had to redo most of their training over. The outcome? They are still around at the pleasure of the Sheriff, in fact , before Undersheriff Waldie retired, a good friend of his who was a convicted felon was allowed to be processed as a reserve. This was picked up by the audit and he was forced to not hire. Thank God for oversight, or this clown would have been wearing tan and green.

  52. Welcome to the party Says:

    Hey Pointless, you got me good. I’m one of those all my life welfare recipients who’s never done an honest days work in my whole life. Now get your ass out there and work harder, for longer hours and make more money so you can pay more taxes to support me SUCKER.

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