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WHO SHOULD BE A COP? LAT’s Disturbing Window into the Hiring Practices of the LA County Sheriff’s Department…and More

December 2nd, 2013 by Celeste Fremon



On Sunday, the LA Times published an exceptionally well-reported—and disturbing
look into some of the hiring practices used by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

The focus of the data-informed story by Robert Faturechi and Ben Poston is a hiring period that occurred in 2010 after the department took over the patrols of county parks and government buildings from the L.A. County police force. Following the takeover, it seems that the ousted LA County cops were given first consideration as the LASD began hiring to fill the new positions.

Out of 400 county officers who applied, the Times learned that around 280 were hired. Through the acquisition of a pile of LASD internal hiring files, Faturechi and Poston were able to determine that approximately 188—or 67 percent—of those hired from the county cop pool had been rejected for jobs at other law enforcement agencies.

Around one third of those same hires had been disciplined previously by other police agencies for “significant misconduct on duty.”

Slightly over 10 percent—39 people—were either fired or pressured to resign from previous jobs in law enforcement.

If the LASD management has hired that many people who’ve been discipline by other agencies—or actually bounced out of other cop jobs—what kind of background problems have they overlooked in brand new recruits whom they believe they can train from scratch?

NARROWING THE FOCUS

There have long been reports from LASD insiders that during certain periods, department higher-ups have put pressure on background investigators to push through questionable applicants in order to raise the number of sworn officers to a particular threshold.

Yet for this story, the LA Times reporters focused solely on the County police hires, which was a smart decision. By limiting their reporting to that single pool of applicants, it allowed the Times to analyse and quantify a given hiring pattern in hard numbers—numbers that are both startling, and difficult to explain away.

The Times also tells many of the stories behind those numbers, and they too are not reassuring.

For example:

About 50 disclosed to sheriff’s background investigators misdeeds such as petty theft, soliciting prostitutes and violence against spouses.

One hire told investigators of having inappropriate sexual contact with two toddlers as a teenager.

In another case, Linda Bonner was given a job after revealing that she used her department-issued weapon to shoot at her husband as he ran away from her during an argument. He wasn’t hit; he was lucky he was running in a zigzag pattern, she told investigators, because if not the end result “would have been a whole lot different.”

And then there is:

Another officer, Niles Rose, was hired despite being the subject of several unreasonable force allegations.

Rose had been investigated for misconduct 10 times at the Office of Public Safety since 2001. In three of those cases, the allegations were found by investigators to be true, according to the sheriff’s background file. A former supervisor said Rose developed a reputation as being heavy-handed with suspects.

“If you want smart force used, you make sure he’s in the locker room,” Marc Gregory, a former county police captain, said in an interview with The Times.

Once hired by the sheriff’s department, Rose’s behavior reportedly did not appear to improve. Instead, multiple allegations of misconduct seemed to accompany his every assignment, according to the Times.

AND WHAT DOES THE DEPARTMENT HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE LA TIMES REPORT?

When asked for a response to what the Times found, the reactions were what we have, sadly, now come to expect.

Sheriff Lee Baca declined to comment, but his spokesman said Baca was not aware people with such backgrounds were hired.

Before he knew of the newspaper’s investigation, Baca told Times reporters that people with records of violence or dishonesty have no place in law enforcement. He said applicants who had been fired from other agencies shouldn’t be given a second chance, and that he would not hire applicants with histories of illegal sexual conduct.

“Men that take women and use them as a sexual object are going to always come up against my wrath,” he said.

In addition to the “I’m shocked, shocked…!” excuse there was the devil-made-me-do-it excuse. To wit:

Baca’s then second-in-command, Larry Waldie, and a small circle of aides, were responsible for scrutinizing applicants.

Waldie, now retired, said he personally reviewed many of the applicants’ files. He said he was unaware of any hires with histories of significant misconduct.

Presented with some of The Times’ findings, Waldie said: “That information was not brought to me … I don’t recall any of these specifics so don’t ask me anymore.”

Waldie then said he and his aides were under “significant pressure” from the county Board of Supervisors and other officials to hire as many county officers as possible.

“We had to have grave reasons for not hiring them,” Waldie said.

Since the Supervisors have not succeeded in pressuring the sheriff’s department into doing much of anything it didn’t want to in the past decade, the claim of “the board made us do it” is reasonably laughable.

Moreover, other agency heads—such as LA County Probation Chief Jerry Powers—have been under “significant pressure” from the board to get their hiring numbers up, ASAP, in Powers’ case, in order to finish staffing up for realignment. And yet Powers has, if anything, tightened his hiring standards during the intense hiring period.

According to the Times’ repot, the LASD’s reaction to word that reporters had acquired the department’s internal records, was also dismaying predictable.

After sheriff’s officials learned The Times had access to the records, they launched a criminal investigation to determine who had leaked them.

(The Times also reports that sheriff’s officials said they would review whether some applicants had been improperly hired. But it appears that tracking down the leaker was Job One.)

There is a lot more in the article itself, so read it.

Let us hope this issue does not go away, but is investigated further.



AND IN OTHER NEWS:

ON THE TOPIC OF INVESTIGATING THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT…WARREN OLNEY INTERVIEWS NEW INSPECTOR GENERAL MAX HUNTSMAN

It’s just a short, preliminary interview (which you can find here), but it gives us an interesting glimpse of Huntsman and how he sees his new job. Take a listen!

And thanks to Warren for giving us this early window.


NATION’S LARGEST SCHOOL POLICE FORCE—NAMELY THE LAUSD POLICE—WILL STOP TICKETING KIDS 12 YEARS OLD AND YOUNGER

For years, childrens’ advocates have been saying that some school administrators have been bringing in school police too quickly to solve minor issues with young students, most often in lower income areas.

Some of the best reporting on the issue has been that of Susan Ferris and the Public Integrity Institute.

Here are a couple of clips from Ferris’ most recent story:

Responding to demand for reforms, the nation’s largest school police force — in Los Angeles — will stop issuing tickets to students 12-years-old or younger for minor infractions allegedly committed on or near campuses during school hours.

A memo this month to officers from Los Angeles Unified School Police Department Chief Steven Zipperman outlined the new policy, which goes into effect in December. The announcement comes in the wake of community demands for the school district to “decriminalize” minor school disciplinary matters and use more discretion when involving law enforcement personnel.

The move by the LAUSD police came after a new report released this fall showed how frequently younger kids were being ticketed for minor issues.

In October, the Labor-Community Strategy Center issued a report analyzing recent police ticketing data. The group found that more than 48 percent of approximately 4,740 school police tickets issued during the 2012-2013 school year were given to kids 14 or younger. Students who were 12 or 11 received 545 tickets. The single biggest offense for younger kids was disturbing the peace.

In calendar year 2011, records examined by the Center for Public Integrity showed that more than 960 kids 12 and younger were ticketed. More than 10,200 tickets in all were issued to students that year, with more than 43 percent going to kids 14 and younger.

In April of 2012, two first graders, six and seven, were ticketed after they got into a shoving match and the mother of one called police, the principal of the kids’ school told the Center. In September, the Center found, a 10-year-old was ticketed for trespassing.

Getting a ticket used to mean that students were forced to miss school and appear in court with parents — and pay dollar fines or perform community service. Students were saddled with misdemeanor records if they didn’t show up at court, which many failed to do.

We applaud the LAUSD Police Chief Zipperman from taking this much needed step, and thank Ferris and the Center for Public Integrity for staying on the issue.


STATEWIDE ACTIVIST GROUP ISSUES REALIGNMENT “REPORT CARD” FOR COUNTIES & LOS ANGELES GETS A “DOUBLE FAIL”

The San Bernardino Sun reports on the five counties who merited the “double fail’ designation for their productive use of realignment funds, in a rating issued for the statewide activist group CURB.

Here’s a clip from Melissa Pinion-Whitt’s report:

“A lot of counties are not utilizing a lot of the alternatives to incarceration that are available to them,” said Diana Zuñiga, statewide program coordinator.

The group, known as CURB, has released report cards the last three years, grading counties based on their use of realignment funding.

Only two of the 13 counties graded by CURB passed, another six failed and five more received a “double fail” grade. Kern, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Mateo counties joined San Bernardino with the lowest grades.

CURB supports funding to “connect people to housing, health care, education, job training and re-entry services that reduce recidivism…”

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is CURB’s report card that includes LA’s double fail

Posted in 2014 election, LASD, LAUSD, Los Angeles Times, School to Prison Pipeline, Sheriff Lee Baca, Zero Tolerance and School Discipline | 45 Comments »

45 Responses

  1. Chargin'Charlie Says:

    Sunday’s article by Faturechi and Poston is not as cutting as it appears because it does not include a comparison group from which the pool of county police officers can be judged. How common are complaints and misconduct among other lateral hires? What does it mean when a candidate is “rejected” by another police department? Is that someone who failed to secure a job offer or were they deemed unsuitable to be police officers? How many “rejections” do candidates hired through the new deputy hiring pipeline typically have?

    The importance of hiring the right people in law enforcement cannot be understated. It’s much harder to deal with bad deputies once they’re on the inside with civil service and union protection. Faturechi and Poston deserve credit for questioning the LASD’s hiring processes but more analysis would help disarm supporters of the department seeking to minimize the significance of these hiring decisions.

  2. Generalhuthut Says:

    This just in. The department has revamped its core values:
    “As a leader in the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, I know nothing, wasn’t aware and it’s the other guys fault”

  3. TJ Says:

    Is nothing sacred any longer? What was thought to be a confidential background investigation is now released to the press? Yes, serious issues were raised here, but was it truly necessary for the LA Times to provide such intimate details, including recordings of applicant interviews? Could this not have been better handled by simply providing statistical information and, perhaps, some non-specific examples? Why the photographs, personal information, and audio? Are we really that desperate for the latest scandal and gossip, never mind who it hurts? We, as a society, are in a sad state.

  4. GPA_UTL Says:

    The phrase, “But for the grace of God go I” comes to mind. Today it’s a group of laterals that nobody cares about having their issues exposed; tomorrow it might be many or all deputies’ civil service discipline records. Forget that pesky Copley Press decision – the Times needs answers! Hey, how about those scurrilous POE allegations? Sure, why not?

    Getting past the part where the Times is in unlawful possession of peace officer personnel records is truly insurmountable. Opening a criminal investigation into the theft of these documents was absolutely the appropriate decision.

    Those willing to ignore the thefts have taken a step too far into the moral relativism that espouses the old saw “the end justifies the means.”

  5. 10-33_Go Says:

    Obviously some embarassing hires were made. And I think the LA Times deserves credit for sharp reporting about an important topic. They are demonstrating, through the department’s own actions and inactions, that it has not and cannot police itself. The department really has nobody but blame but itself (the Sheriff). But anyone who’s been through a background process knows how unfair it can be, how brutal and unfair the polygraph process can be, how allegations of countermeasures are made far more frequently than they are true. (I was accused of using countermeasures several times and absolutely never did, nor did I try or have anything to hide.) So I agree that laying out so many people so publicly based on allegations and discoveries made during that totally unfair process, as documented in stolen files, is a pretty cruel thing to do in the service of a perhaps necessary end.

    But, at the end of the day, the point is that the department’s standards, across the board, have slipped tremendously under Sheriff Baca’s watch, and new leadership is needed. I cannot think of a single reason to reelect the sheriff–even falling crime stats doesn’t count, since we all know how robberies become grand thefts, buglaries become vandalisms, drive-bys become negligent discharges, etc. And it’s in few peoples’ interest to call the numbers the BS they often are.

    As deputies, we would never be allowed to routinely (or ever) excuse our actions or inactions by saying we didn’t know policy, we didn’t know the law, we didn’t have situational awareness. It is shocking and embarassing the extent to which the Sheriff and Mr. Whitmore think that excuse carries water with anybody or signals anything other than complete incompetence, particularly during a time of crisis/crises.

  6. Huh! Says:

    I agree that the “LA Times” should not have posted all this info for the world to see, but lets not lose sight of the information it has revealed. I for one am shocked at how low our hiring standards have fallen. This is information I would have not known, had it not been for this story. Lets put the blame wear it belongs, on the Execs in charge in 2010, Baca, Waldie and Tanaka!

    Focusing on the fact that the “Times” should have not have possessed or printed this information is the same as a carjacking suspect fleeing, while being pursed by the police and ultimately getting caught and a little bruised, and all the media wants to talk about is the “use of force!”

  7. Ohhhh ya Says:

    Anyone here the Mr T interview on KABC radio.

  8. Surviving the Titanic Says:

    This is not as newsworthy as is being made out. the OPS folks were part of an absorption, they were not new hires. many of them lost their jobs, were given jobs at other county departments or made custody assistants. Niles Rose was one of them, he is not a Deputy, he was made a custody assistant after the merger. for an executive, especially Waldie, to say they did not know of the major issues some of folks had is a flat out lie. Mr. Waldie was involved in every case. every case had an executive summary to highlight the major issues so the executives didn’t have to read the entire report. because the OPs folks were already county workers and sworn peace officers they did have the POBR to aid them. many had exceptionally clean backgrounds and currently do an outstanding job. don’t let yourself get sucked up into the Times Propaganda machine.

  9. J.London Says:

    Once again Waldie’s name comes up directly connected corruption, lying, perjury and not giving a rat’s ass about the degradation of a once great LASD. I read (rightly so) about indignation about the way the Times got all this information. Well, we need to ask some basic questions; would there had been a theft had Waldie just done his job? No! Would there had been a demand of an IG had Baca, Waldie, Tanaka and we must include Stonich just followed policy? No!Lastly, does anyone really believe that Waldie took on the sole decision to hire these horrible hires without a direct order from Baca? Hell No! How ironic that Waldie committed many of the same acts as these bad hires and rose to Undersheriff. All of a sudden Waldie doesn’t want to talk anymore once confronted with the facts!

    The Times only reported on 250 bad hires. Just ask any of the Tact Staff how many bad recruits get through the Academy.I suspect that at least 300-500 bad recruits make it through to graduation each year. Multiply these numbers by 14 years of Baca and what do you get? 4,200-7,000

    Think of all the great people we turned down and went to other agencies while we picked the worst of all cases. The BOS did their job but fell at one aspect. The BOS never followed up on what Baca did re the bad hires.

    What a surprise it must have been when Uncle Waldie made the call (figuratively) informing a molester, drug abuser with numerous founded acts of excessive force and misconduct that his ship had come in and now this guy is a Deputy Sheriff! No other agency would hire him!

    Why would anyone who has his phone tapped and being investigated by the FBI be dumb enough to pick up the phone and give a lying statement to the Times? Only one person fits that description, right Larry?

  10. Wow! Says:

    It should be noted that the Sheriff’s Department was tasked with taking “as many” of these employees as they could. Those whom were not hired as peace officers actually filed a suit that, I believe, is still going through the appeal process. They were already peace officers when they were in the background process with LASD. The County of Los Angeles was well aware that the Office of Public Safety hired people whom had questionable backgrounds and even those whom had been terminated/separated from service of other police agencies. I’m not deflecting, however, where’s the County Board of Supervisor’s responsibility on this? They decided to give these people peace officer powers long before LASD had to deal with them. They (OPS Officers), after all, had their own police department within the County. A Department that was falling apart due to the likes of Margaret York, Steve Lieberman and a hand full of piss poor employees whom should have kept their mouths shut in show of gratitude for even having ever been given a badge, knowing full well that no one else would hire them. Their inability to realize that they were subpar (to state the least)is what led them to think this so called “merger” would benefit anyone other than the Board of Supervisors whom can now wash their hands of any responsibility for these people having peace officer protections under the Peace Officers Bill of Rights. I’m sure that after years of knowing they committed quite an error in ever creating such a Department as OPS,they are currently sitting in their golden chairs laughing at the Sheriff, whom is taking a fall for the failure that once was the Office of Public Safety.

  11. John R. Stites II Says:

    The Times story was a typical hit piece devoid of any substantive reporting. The personnel records were stolen and given to the Times. Fraturechi is known for his so-called hard hitting exposes especially involving Sheriff Department personnel. I don’t buy it considering I was heavily involved in the initial steps to absorb the County Police. The Sheriff’s Department had be involved in managing that agency for years prior to the merger. I’m sure they could paint any picture they cared to had they had access to our personnel records which is what they have clamored for for years (remember SB 1019 by State Senator Gloria Romero). This is why law enforcement unions fought so hard to keep them for gaining access. It is clearly the “Cast the first stone” syndrome. The nature of law enforcement places cops in positions that will result in complaints, most substantially false. For the County Board of Supervisors to request any inquiry is an attempt to cover their own behinds. The all need to shut up and let this go they way of most BS stories and allegations. I would urge them not to overreact as they have in the past often resulting in more damaging policies than currently in place. And remember, while these people are asleep in their beds at night, there is a cop driving in the darkness waiting for their 911 call for help.

  12. LATBG Says:

    This story is just the tip of one of the many icebergs floating around while Captain Leroy rearranges the deck chairs on his Titanic. Just check out the whizz bang job we did with the Compton PD takeover, and the LACC PD takeover. Once you’re done there, stroll on over to exhibit C, all the sons and daughters of department executives and campaign contributors.

    Sheriff Baca and Paul Tanaka are the modern equivalents of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall. Baca authorized everything, and Tall Paul made it all happen as chief of admin services, then A/S in charge of admin services AND custody/courts, then the A/S in charge of patrol and guess what: admin services.

    Paul, you should be proud of all that affirmative action you provided to your campaign contributors/subordinates. Thanks to you we are the laughing stock of law enforcement across the nation…

  13. Investigative Mind Says:

    SIGH

  14. CPT280? Says:

    Waldie is full of crap. So, I Baca and Tanaka. Waldie senior is still pulling the string at LASD. Waldie junior is an Lt with LASD. This guy makes Detective six months off patrol training. Sgt a year later. Hahahaha, Lasd is a joke.

  15. Mutual Assured Destruction Says:

    With Baca and Tanaka standing behind the 3D’s (Don’t admit to anything, Deny everything and Demand proof), why would we want either of them as Sheriff? If neither of them knew of any malfeasance and or failed to act on any, what qualifies them for the job? Is there anyone out there who would want their hard earned tax dollars paying the exorbitant salary of a Sheriff who has no idea of what is going on in the department he leads? How is it a Lieutenant can be demoted to Sergeant for walking into a Chief’s office and allegedly bullying a Chief into making an unpopular decision? Wasn’t that Chief armed? Wasn’t there an armed Captain in the same office at the time of the incident? Wasn’t a current Assistant Sheriff, who was a Commander at the time, in that same office during this alleged incident? Why did the Chief allow himself to allegedly be bullied and go back on his decision? Why would the Sheriff allow him to remain a Chief and why would the Sheriff promote that Commander to Assistant Sheriff? Why is it a Lieutenant whose sexual misconduct cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars, be moved into the Pico Rivera station operations spot? Is it because his sponsor, now a Commander, was once the Sheriff’s driver? I’m certain that if asked about any of this, nobody will know anything. One thing we all know for sure, just because that Deputy had trouble shooting her zig zagging husband in the back doesn’t mean the Sheriff and Tanaka have trouble shooting themselves in the foot.

  16. Laree Waldee Says:

    I agree with #10 WOW. These people were already County employees working as police officers. The Board of Supervisors demanded that Baca lateral hire them. Baca may be elected but he needs BOS support. He couldn’t refuse. Sheriff Baca has a hard job. That’s why he is sending retired Bob Lindsay to audit the hiring process. Bob has experience to recognize when someone shouldn’t be hired… both on a professional AND personal level….

  17. Just another poster Says:

    To: Huh! Says

    So the end justifies the means? Instead of focusing on who stole confidential records and leaked them to the press, we should focus on the content, even the content is not criminal in itself. Why, to fulfill your political agenda making the current admin look bad?

    So you would be fine with the Times posting your picture, personal records, and recorded statements that were stolen from the department. As long as the author deemed the records were “significant?”

  18. Bandwagon Says:

    Why is everybody picking on Waldie? Now that he retired, he can enjoy his favorite alcoholic beverage and a massage on his own time.

  19. J.London Says:

    Why should an honest person who is sheriff need the BOS support to be honest? If Baca couldn’t refuse the BOS then NO ONE should ever be held accountable because they couldn’t refuse! BS! I ain’t going for it!!!

    John Stites: I hope you are not the real John Stites. You admitted to ¨being heavily involved¨ in this hiring of rejects. Any acts of criminal misconduct can be civilly attached to you and your finances! I’m sure you didn’t solicit Waldie to hire these rejects!!

  20. GPA_UTL Says:

    J.London,

    Be real, dude. What criminal and/or civil actions are you referring to? Maybe the multi-million dollar awards for brutality committed by deputies who were hired straight off the street? Only two of the 2010 laterals listed have done anything remotely close to causing potential civil liability.

    Behind closed doors you’re laughing at how mild those offenses were. You know damn well that much more serious things happened in the past and went unreported. Think back to your young days in custody and thank your lucky stars nobody cared what happened back then.

  21. J.London Says:

    G: I understand what you are saying. But, it doesn’t excuse Baca’s screw up. None of this can be justified and the rejects should have never been hired! That goes for all the FOS, Baca’s relatives and alike! As for liability you have no idea what goes on when mediation hearings happen. The acts of continued misconduct is far more than two! But, that’s another story.

    If you are one of the rejects and doing s fair job then good for you. But, you would be a rare exception and not the rule! There are guidelines for a reason!

    I hope that a new sheriff will do a better job!

  22. GPA_UTL Says:

    J.London,

    Hmm, oddly the murderer of Sgt. Arthur, the Arco/Narco deps, every dep ever found to have provided drugs to inmates, all the CJ deps involved in excessive force incidents, many deps who abused females on T-stops, Vikings, Jump Out Boys, etc. weren’t “rejects.” No, they were properly vetted. Whew, if not, things might have gotten out of hand.

    Unless you have a lot more information than the average bear, these 2010 lateral “rejects” are doing fine. Most of the young ones have gone to patrol, while the older ones have settled into custody, TST, or courts. I’ve been told that in the custody environment, they seem to run circles around the salty slaps hired off the street – you know, the entitlement generation.

    You sound like you’re up there in management, so maybe you know more about them exposing the dept to potential civil liability. If that’s the case, I stand corrected in that regard.

  23. Huh! Says:

    @”Just Another Poster,” I have no idea how you figured I am saying the “end justifies the means,” seeing as I started my post with I agree the LA Times should “not” have put the information out. My point is, the info is out. There is nothing we can do about it now. Yes, I believe there should be an investigation into who leaked the files, but lets not lose sight of the fact that the current regime has hired plenty of losers in recent years, for their own agenda.

    Am I glad this story came out? Absolutely not. Do I hope this story helps show the cluelessness of our current regime, I sure do. My current agenda is not to make the current administration look bad, because they’re taking care of that on their own. My “political” agenda is to help save the department of which I was once proud.

    As far as me being fine with the “Times” posting my personal information, probably not, “if” I had something to hide. But, I guess I can’t honestly answer that question, because I can’t think of a reason why they would be interested in my unblemished career.

    However,if you’re insinuating that I might be worried about the public knowing who I am, and that I’m a Cop. That has never worried me, because my family and I choose to stay prepared while assuming the worst could happen. What “is” sad though, is that I have to currently hide behind an anonymous screen name for fear of retaliation by my own department.

  24. LATBG Says:

    GPA: “Unless you have a lot more information than the average bear, these 2010 lateral “rejects” are doing fine. Most of the young ones have gone to patrol, while the older ones have settled into custody, TST, or courts. I’ve been told that in the custody environment, they seem to run circles around the salty slaps hired off the street – you know, the entitlement generation.”

    GPA, you’ve been told wrong. The OPS merger deputies and CA’s are not running circles around anyone, much less young strapping deputies fresh out of the academy. In fact, some of them can’t run circles around the salad bar in the ODR as they tend to loiter there. There are some good OPS deputies out there, but by and large we inherited a bunch of disgruntled employees with a lot of tenure and little experience.

    As far as the rest of hiring, well the last hiring push brought us the Academy show crowd with the dope-slinging deputy, and we have now fired/suspended/quit-in-lieu of more deputies (54+) over the last four years than we did the previous 25 combined! That points to negligent hiring, and the bad crop will continue to embarrass us in the news for decades to come. You can thank Baca, Waldie, Tanaka, and Stonich for sending those little memos to Pre-Employment announcing the specials for the day…

  25. Sherlockholmes Says:

    I agree that the reason why an applicant was rejected by another law enforcement agency does not necessarily make him/her a qualified applicant with the LASD. Theft, crimes of moral turpitude, etc are valid reasons, but I once had a friend who was rejected by LASD because he still lived at home with his parents and had not yet established credit or a job history. He was accepted at another LE agency and has spent his entire career there.

    And BTW, though I agree there were some questionable hires, I’m way uncomfortable with the LA Times accessing personnel records. What’s to stop them from publishing names, DOB’s, etc. A court of law already sustained a clear theft as public knowledge, what’s to stop them from publishing names, DOB’s , pictures, etc. Plus it will make background investigations harder, as applicants will be less willing to disclose potentially damaging information for fear that it will not end with their background investigator; it will be in the LA Times.

  26. GPA_UTL Says:

    Huh!,

    Well said, brother. But I think we should go easy on calling fellow deputies “losers.” The difference might be that any of us would bleed for another in tan and green, but we might not want to have a beer with them after.

  27. Just another poster Says:

    To Huh!:

    I agree with you to an extent. Bear in mind, this article was put out to further dis-credit out department. Yes there are bad apples that should never have been hired, however the the fact that LA Times will go to no ends, legal or not, (including confidential records) to make Law Enforcement look incompetent.

    We can’t just walk up to people and just start searching them; then find something and say see, he’s guilty.

    I’m personally very worried how far they will go and we all should be. I have nothing to hide regarding my background, still does not make it acceptable for them to dig through it and publish it.

    The department already has many scandals to deal with. This here appears to be a stab in the dark to add fuel to the fire. What is more worrisome is their means of doing whatever it takes to hit us.

  28. check please. Says:

    For all the hue and cry about the L.A. Times and the rest of the media trying to sink us at whatever cost, the real problem is the fact that hundreds of personnel files walked out of the vault. Even worse, we hired those dodo birds in the first place. How do you move or copy that many files, including the audio and pictures? The back story is gonna be twice as revealing as the stolen files. Somebody was mighty pissed. And nobody’s looking good on this one. Our problem is us, not the media, the Board, OIR, Merrick Bobb, or the Feds. Just like raw sewage, bad business always floats to the top. If the Times got personnel files, there’s no telling what the Feds already have: wires, phone taps, GPS tracking devices, informants, warrants and hard drives. For those in the know, don’t be the last one to cut a deal. You can retire, but you can’t hide.

  29. Ohhhh ya Says:

    Someone needs to look into the background of this Times reporter, Fetuccini, then reveal his history with photos publicly.

  30. Investigative Mind Says:

    At #28, outstanding issues you brought up re: wire taps, gps trackers….etc. I know for a fact people think since they retired or were ran out of the department they CANNOT be touched. Stand by because no matter what part of the country you move to, you will be tracked down.

  31. Huh! Says:

    @ “GPA UTL” and “Just Another Poster,”: you have both made good points. Calling another Deputy a “loser” is a little harsh, but I’m not necessarily referring to the laterals. And, we need to do everything we can to keep the media out of our personal lives.

    Unfortunately, I have worked around Deputies who disappear when the “shit hit the fan,” on several occasions. I have brought it to their attention and to that of supervisors only to be told “what can I do about it!” These are the few I’m referencing. I would still bleed for them, but I’m not sure I can count on them to bleed for me!

    My point about the media is if we are unable to keep them from accessing our personal records then how about we one up them and do our job like we are suppose to do it and stay out of trouble off duty. They’ll be so bored, they’ll leave us alone.

  32. CSN83 Says:

    Why waste our time looking at Fetuccini. If the department does its job than what is he going to find. LASD spends way too much time trying to hide what they do to the citizens and its own employees.

    I guess you could assume that is why investigators of newspapers etc look for anything they can find to expose what happens behind closed doors. I would also guess this is why people are being to feed the investigators. I am not saying what Fetuccini did was right but who ever did this must be feeling like the secretes of LASD should be exposed instead of hidden another 4 years.

  33. Bandwagon Says:

    Hate to say it Huh!, but I think there are a lot more deputies on the Department than the few you referenced, that may not be willing to bleed for their fellow deputies. They can always go to Plan B and move back in with the parents. I’ m now retired, but. I feel for the sergeants who try to do the right thing and hold their subordinates to standard, only to find themselves facing a POE investigation. Sad state of affairs!

  34. Eldon Hoke Says:

    Sorry, but a good number of the OPS people LASD took on ARE losers. They were castaways and rejects from other agencies when they were hired by OPS. Still yet, many of these people were hired by OPS after washing out of the LASD academy.

    The whole concept of OPS (or Safety Police and County Parks Police for those who remember) and why it ever existed eludes me. This should have been an LASD handle from jump street or perhaps have been farmed out to private security. But, this was an idea hatched decades ago.

    I am sure Baca was under enormous pressure to hire as many of these people as possible. By my estimations, I would say only 30% of OPS met LASD standards. I’m sure these concerns were expressed to the deaf ears of the BOS.

    What should’ve happened was the total disbandment of OPS. Then, start anew with more hiring and paid overtime positions until it could be fully staffed by LASD and eventually be self-sustaining. Instead, LASD got stuck with cops who shoot at their spouses and others who date 14 year olds. And I haven’t even touched on the incompetent civilians who got absorbed in this deal.

  35. Huh! Says:

    @34 “Eldon Hoke”: You are right on point. I didn’t keep track of the “Safety Police” and or who got hired by them, but I know a few people from my class who were washed out, not because they were dirty, but because the staff believed they eventually would not be able to cut it as a Deputy on the streets, Now fast forward to absorbing OPS and suddenly these guys have what it takes to be a Deputy. I guess that “is” the case since our standards have dropped so much under the current regime! It has become all about power and nothing to do with the quality of service we are providing to the public. That is why it really baffles me that the BOS allows this charade to continue without more accountability.

  36. Time to Clean House Says:

    Even after the County Police fiasco, we still hired more of the same. I talked to a B. I. that has a few unqualified other agency rejects, sheriff civilian employees, and legacy candidates,he has to keep investigations going for. Leroy ego tells him to maintain the world’s largest police force at any cost. Leroy quality not quantity might work better for this department. Bad hires  in the department have   and will continue to cost  the taxpayers millions of dollars a year in judgements or settlements  for misconduct. We  are a law enforcement agency, not a criminal enterprise. Until Leroy stops hiding behind “I didn’t know”, our problems in LASD will continue.

  37. Jack Dawson Says:

    I think looking into Robert F is a great idea! Oh yea, we did that to a FBI agent and it worked out so well. I think the cooler heads are prevailing with regards to let’s get back to being accountable and boring.

    That may also equate to being smarter bro…. I just flicked my dip out on the way to IE. It only takes me 45 minutes to get to work from Rancho…. I would love to see the FBI’s surveillance deconfliction for the Ontario/Pomona/Ranch area.

  38. GPA_UTL Says:

    @LATBG, I guess I’m just judging the young, strapping recent academy graduates a hot second after their 90 days of custody training. You know, when the “entitlement generation” gets salty and needs a shape charge of C-4 to get them off their rear ends.

    As for hiring “rejects,” it seems that our agency, as well as many others, have been screening out the more aggressive ex-military types and the more mature ones with some life experience (read that to mean they ain’t squeaky clean). I got that years ago directly from a psych who contracted with us and other small agencies in the area. Agencies seem to want the softer profile. Maybe they think it will lower their exposure to lawsuits.

    Somebody out there with a lot of inside knowledge do the math for us – what’s the percentage breakdown of problem deputies (fired, prosecuted, etc.) from “bad hires” since the dawn of time vs. since recent hiring standards? There has to be a “fudge factor” built in to account for the recent firings of deputies for doing exactly what was the norm prior to this inmate-centered era. I think I know the answer. ;-)

  39. Eldon Hoke Says:

    LASD’s hiring practices as a whole need to be revamped. The radio traffic these days sounds like a Florencia 13 wiretap. I’ve heard deputies use monikors for each other over L-TAC and half the crime broadcasts you hear are barely discernible because of a language barrier.

    What is needed is a very open and painful dialogue on hiring quotas. I have seen many highly qualified, educated and character-flaw-free male white candidates get disqualified for trivial technicalities. These people get left on the cutting room floor, if you will, because the quota was met. Instead of hiring John Smith from Orange County, we get Amalia Hernandez from South Gate who likes to go by Lil Joker (names ficticious).

    I’m sure I am already being pegged as a racist for what I just said but I speak the truth. Just look at the recent scandals in the jails. Most of the involved deputies could be placed in a six-pack with bona fide gang members and nobody would know the difference.

    I understand that a police force should be a reflection of its community. I applaud that concept but in reality, it’s not feasible when half of said “community” is on parole.

  40. sigh Says:

    Eldon, the world has changed. I feel your pain, you sound somewhat pent up and powerless. Honestly, your brush is overly broad and inaccurate. Even if half any community were on parole, it’s inconsiderate to paint the half that isn’t with the same stroke. I’d like to think real law enforcement professionals are better than that. I could be wrong, but I’d like to believe we are.

  41. TJ Says:

    Regarding #39

    No one seems to care who they hurt anymore, whether by releasing some embarrassing truth with no reason but to humiliate, or by an outright falsehood, such as the calumnious statement made by “Eldon Hoke” with regard to Amalia Hernandez (feigned ‘names fictitious’ advisory notwithstanding).

    Being cloaked in anonymity allows free expression, which, of course, is important when used correctly. Yet, this same anonymity is a double-edged sword, for it engenders abuse, providing an outlet for those who, lacking charity or decency, make outlandish statements for the simple pleasure it provides them, or, perhaps, for the laughter it elicits from those of the author’s ilk.

    The agenda behind this particularly defamatory comment is puzzling. There is absolutely no truth to it. None. Then again, I suppose the chosen nom de plume “Eldon Hoke” provides some insight into the personality of this individual.

    The infighting continues, the gossipmongers press on, and the brotherhood this Department once was disintegrates further each day. Yes, some positives have been achieved, but the incessant negativity is slowly eroding those who still go out each day and do what they were hired to do.

    Perhaps our Department’s Core Values should be replaced with something much simpler: The Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” That’s it. Nothing more.

  42. DI Says:

    Everyone is commenting on poor applicants and how could some of these people get hired. First of all, everything and everyone is a percentage. We need to hire this today and that tomorrow. It is just bad decision making. Qualified people should be hired. We shouldn’t hire them if they used this drug or that drug. Drugs/theft/lying etc. should disqualify people. When you get a call from the 4th floor and they request for you to look into this matter or it would be a good idea if…..how will anthing ever get fixed. Look at the academy. The physical training field no longer exists. It will be a dog park or something similar. How does that hurt taxpayers of LA COUNTY. Every academy will cost the taxpayers an additional 500k. The recruits now have to travel to a local high school. Oh yea I forgot, LASD will be moving the academy to the old BC academy, which currently houses SEB. The only problem with that is the 70 person maximum capacity per academy class. So figure out how many classes can be held a year? This is another foolish idea, which in the long run will cost millions of dollars. I bet the Sheriff doesn’t know about this one.

    #39 Most of the people that get disqualified never tell their friends or family what the real reason was for the disqualification. This disqualification of potential hires works across the board. It is not just the John Smith’s of this world.

  43. CSN83 Says:

    #42 – DI – where did you come up with the additional $500K per Academy class figure? That’s a lot of money & it seems doubtful that an Academy class costs that additional amount just in order to add in the time to travel to and from another facility for PT track time. In regards to the smaller class size, that has been desired for many years. Trying to keep to the student-to-instructor ratio is now part of the settlement agreement from when we were in hot water with POST a few years back because we never achieved it prior to the investigation.

    And speaking of POST and Academy issues AND our “absorption” of the County “police” — perhaps one of the journalists could delve into why Rio Hondo lost its accreditation as an Academy a few years back The root of the problem was a County police person of rank who had stolen the answers to the POST exams and set up his own business of teaching POST courses, running through the Learning Domains, and basically “teaching to the exam.” The same person was caught giving classes at one of the downtown custody facilities a year or so ago, doing the same thing for our recruits and those awaiting their Academy date. Yes. POST investigated & I believe this person (sergeant on LASD now) was told to cease & desist after the Rio Hondo incident. Obviously, he didn’t listen or lacks the judgment to be a supervisor or leader… or better yet, just wants to make extra $$$. What’s the harm of spoon feeding answers to people, right?

  44. DI Says:

    There was a paper written indicating and factoring the cost analysis. It was submitted to the new Captain of the Academy. It did show the additional cost breakdown and was swept under the rug. This new little park is a knabe project for the local community. Apparently, the community was upset over the use and noise of people conducting sports at the facility. ISD is also very well aware of the issues. It is not just the travel time. It is basically adding time to the academy and we all understand how costly that could become.

  45. LATBG Says:

    DI, you got the wrong suspect on the BC academy fiasco. The construction cost alone is over $21 million, and that was several years ago. We are in essence closing a great facility given for free to spend money we don’t have on reopening a facility that was too small in 1984! (It still is).

    Welcome to Moonbeam logic, also known as the Nostalgia Tour: HOJJ, at a cost of $260+ million, BC Range, at a cost of $1.5 million, BC Academy, at a cost of $21+ million, and the giving away the real estate of the Whittier Academy, at a loss of over $10 million to the taxpayer. Sooner or later we will be talking about real money…

    Baca is trying to recreate the department of 1965, when he went through the academy. I wonder if he will bring back the skirts and purse holsters?

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