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Cheating on LASD Sergeant’s Exams….27 Death Penalty Cases Reviewed for Errors…Hunger Strike Leaders Further Isolated

July 19th, 2013 by Celeste Fremon

On Thursday afternoon, Sheriff Lee Baca sent out a department wide email indicating that a few people may have attempted to cheat
on the LASD’s Sergeant’s exam, and that the matter is being investigated.

The announcement that the department is being proactive on such matters is, of course, very good news.

We would like, however, to respectfully suggest that the barn door is being shut a bit on the late side, since credible accounts of certain favored groups of people receiving copies of either lieutenants’ exams or sergeants’ exams have been circulating for the past few years and beyond.

And, of course, since December of 2011, WitnessLA has been reporting on Undersheriff Paul Tanaka’s influence on promotions with a system that often scooted “in-the-car” acolytes to the head of the promotion’s queue with all manner of not-by-the-books methods, thus rewarding a pernicious form of loyalty, (which often demonstrated itself with monetary campaign donations), over competence.

So, yes, a bit of investigating and cracking down might be in order, however belatedly.

Better late than never. May the exam cheating perps be apprehended, ASAP.

We await progress reports. In the meantime, here’s a copy of the Sheriff’s statement:








More than a year ago, the Washington Post wrote that US Justice Department officials has known for years that flawed FBI forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people, but prosecutors failed to notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled.

As a consequence of these admissions, a federal review of old criminal cases was launched and, in its first round of preliminary investigations, it has uncovered as many as 27 death penalty convictions, “in which FBI forensic experts may have mistakenly linked defendants to crimes with exaggerated scientific testimony, U.S. officials said.”

According to the Washington Post, the review led to an 11th-hour stay of execution in Mississippi in May.

Spencer Hsu of the Post has more on this story. Here’s a clip:

It is not known how many of the cases involve errors, how many led to wrongful convictions or how many mistakes may now jeopardize valid convictions. Those questions will be explored as the review continues.

The discovery of the more than two dozen capital cases promises that the examination could become a factor in the debate over the death penalty. Some opponents have long held that the execution of a person confirmed to be innocent would crystallize doubts about capital punishment. But if DNA or other testing confirms all convictions, it would strengthen proponents’ arguments that the system works.

FBI officials discussed the review’s scope as they prepare to disclose its first results later this summer. The death row cases are among the first 120 convictions identified as potentially problematic among more than 21,700 FBI Laboratory files being examined. The review was announced last July by the FBI and the Justice Department, in consultation with the Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).


This week, the CDCR appears to have decided to deal with the hunger strike in California prisons, which was launched to protest conditions in the system’s isolation units, by putting 14 of the strike’s organizers into even more isolated units, in which they are reportedly prevented from seeing one of their attorneys.

The LA Times’ Paige St. John has the best account of the issue. Here are a couple of clips:

California prison officials have moved 14 inmate leaders of a hunger strike over solitary confinement conditions to more isolated quarters, cutting off their access to broadcast news and seizing some of their legal papers, according to one of their lawyers.

Another inmates’ lawyer was banned from all state prisons.

Wednesday was the 10th day of the statewide protest, with 2,327 inmates refusing their meals and 229 skipping their prison jobs and classes.


Prison investigators took legal papers from some of the transferred inmates, said Anne Weills, an Oakland civil rights lawyer representing prisoners in a federal lawsuit over long-term solitary confinement. The documents included potential settlement terms that inmates had drawn up for a July 26 court appearance.

State officials confirmed that some protest leaders were moved but refused to identify the prison where they were located. All of the 14 strike leaders were signatories of protest-related documents, including a manifesto calling for unity among prison ethnic groups against the corrections system.

HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND, everyone. A pile of new stories coming next week.

Posted in CDCR, Civil Liberties, Death Penalty, Innocence, LASD, prison, prison policy, Sheriff Lee Baca | 59 Comments »

59 Responses

  1. J.London Says:

    The S don’t stop!

  2. Huh! Says:

    What a joke! Another political move by the boss to look good for the public.

  3. Eyeswideopen Says:

    I’m not in the least surprised by this further shame on the department. When you have managers and executives on the department who are unethical, what do you expect from the supervisors and rank and file. As they say, one spoiled apple ………..

  4. InterestedParty Says:

    Baca/Tanaka have set the tone and communicate the values and ethics (or lack of), to subordinates further down in the pyramid of the organization. Subordinates imitate what they see their bosses do. Baca’s “intent to conclude the investigation as quickly as possible,” demonstrates where Baca’s priorities are. Accelerating the investigation only shifts the media and public’s attention away from this one of many dozens of scandals under Baca’s watch. At the same time it cheats the investigative process by stressing out the IAB captain and the investigator resulting in shortcuts being taken. This attitude also sets unreasonable deadlines as the top priority. This is just another shell game by the disarming Baca.

  5. They way it is Says:

    I wonder how many currently employed individuals at the rank of Captain and above had received their sergeant or lieutenant exam test questions/answers in advance? How many of these individuals had a failing score or non-Band 1 (below 94.5%) score that was altered to elevate them into Band 1? Who are they? Who ordered it? Who participated?

    The Discipline Bail Schedule for cheating on a promotional exam is “Discharge.” How many folks who are now on the payroll and sit in “executive” positions of rank, cheated or received altered scores are going to be held accountable? Who are the names? There are no exams for the rank of Captain and above, those are all done by appointment. But they had to “pass” written and oral examinations and then receive an appropriate Appraisal of Promotability (AP) with an overall score of 94.5 or above to make the rank of sergeant or lieutenant in order to be qualified to make captain or above. Who are the cheaters? How many are in the Cigar Club and have a coin? This is a HUGE scandal and I hope WLA can bring the truth out.

    Yet ANOTHER byproduct of the Baca and Tanaka “LASD culture of corruption.”

  6. Facts matter Says:

    It’s interesting to see the constant deflection and Paul Tanaka’s name being mentioned, even though he’s been gone for months and has 0 input or authority. More importantly, I would like to see the make up of the “Cheaters” and what part of the department they work. Are they part of favored group or connected to a current department executive? Who were their mentors?

    Wouldn’t it be great to find out?

    New leadership is definitely needed for LASD. Corruption is running wild!


    Although it has been quite awhile since my last posting, I feel compelled to answer “Facts Matter Says”.

    Yes, technically Tanaka is supposedly out of the picture, but the Department is infested like a house full of termites with his loyalists. For example, take Captain Kevin Hebert, who you will remember was on the initial Executive Staff Meeting list on the LASD Outlook, and who was on the pay to play (promote) lists, and was involved with Lt.’s Nee and Cruz in 2006-2007 at MCJ with the destruction and delay (due process) of force packages, and named during the Jail Commission review and in WitLA for past questionable acts and indiscretions. He was undeservedly promoted to Captain in 2010 by Tanaka and has been controlling all promotional exams and movement etc. in the Department for Tanaka as the Captain of Personnel Bureau.

    Here’s how long these issues have been going on as we visit an excerpt from my January 2012 postings.

    “What the above behavior and environment does is create situations where inexperienced and unethical supervisors are placed in positions of supervision and control and they are only there for a short period of time before they are moved again and again, and then replaced by more Tanaka loyalists. This creates an environment where they do not remain long enough to be held accountable and responsible for their actions and supervision. Case in point, please check how many Sergeants and Lieutenants in recent years have been transferred in to the Men’s Central Jail and how long they stayed and how soon they were promoted or received prime job assignments. For example, in April of 2006, then Sergeants Kevin Hebert and Christopher Nee were promoted to Lieutenant and sent to the Men’s Central Jail with specific instructions from then Assistant Sheriff Paul Tanaka to “clean up Central Jail”. As they worked under the Operations Lieutenant at that time, Daniel Cruz, they delayed, lost, and or destroyed numerous administrative use of force investigations that were never completed and mysteriously were lost from the files. One female Sergeant (Kristy Criner-Cruz) had 11 force investigations disappear and she was never able to complete them. She was recently questioned about this and she refused to answer and has been off stress ever since. She now stays home with her relieved of duty husband, Captain Cruz, who ironically still has his silver Crown Victoria County take home car parked in his driveway at his residence. As has been recently written, a review of the incredible decline of the use of force incidents starting in 2006 and 2007 at the Men’s Central Jail resulted from this criminal destruction of force packages. It should be noted that there are rumored to currently be at least a whopping 164 force incident investigations missing from the Men’s Central Jail. Lieutenant Hebert was then transferred in 2007 to Century Station and immediately appointed as the Operation’s Lieutenant, which is very uncommon.

    After a short stint there Hebert was transferred back to Personnel Administration as the Operation’s Lieutenant, where he had worked under Assistant Sheriff Tanaka as a Sergeant, and was shortly thereafter promoted to Captain and remained in Personnel Administration, again very uncommon. He was able to continue his control of all personnel transfers, assignments, promotions, promotional exams etc. for then Assistant Sheriff Tanaka. Lieutenant Hebert, with minimal experience, minimal time in grade, and lack of any advanced education, etc., was able to quickly promote in 2010 to Captain due to his allegiance to Tanaka. Lieutenant Christopher Nee, was just recently promoted to Captain of Temple Station.”

    Here’s another excerpt.

    “The following are additional areas and problems to investigate:”

    - “During the preparation for recent promotional exams in the last few years for Sergeant and Lieutenant several selected personnel were called in to Tanaka’s office and told what areas to study for the exams. On one test for Sergeant, 10 females were called in and 5 of the 10 refused his offer and stated if they were promoted they wanted to do it with honor and on their own. The other 5 accepted the preferential treatment. Similar incidents have occurred on other promotional exams prior to this one as well, which includes the revealing of exam answers prior to the exams to select personnel.”

    In closing, I feel that an independent review, not a review by IAB, for obvious reasons, should be conducted as this caper has a long tail to it.

  8. Facts matter Says:

    You can’t handle the truth-

    I agree, an independent review would be great. Maybe they can answer these questions and seek the real truth. The Tanaka conspiracy is old and played out. Your argument could be twisted in any fashion that benefits you or anyone else. How about the truth for a change.

    I’ll repeat what I said:

    I would like to see the make up of the “Cheaters” and what part of the department they work.

    Are they part of a favored group or connected to a current department executive?

    Shedding some light would help.

    We will see.

  9. I have faith again Says:

    It’s been obvious for 15 years that test questions have been given out to Tanaka supporters, anyone with half a brain knows that some of the dumbest, and I mean brain dumb people score Band 1 on written tests. Please, these people couldn’t find the test location in Pasadena,if it weren’t for the line of people heading in that direction. Eventually one day someone will provide the proof that reveals the whole scandal.

  10. Jeff Says:

    Whatever happened to Captain Louis Duran of Aero Bureau? He is not on their email group anymore.

  11. Eyeswideopen Says:

    Some really dumb individuals are being promoted to captain too. Individuals who know nothing of budget or personnel issues, but who got promoted because they climb legs really well.

  12. shake my head Says:

    So they will continue with the process, are you kidding me. How can you continue when you have a test that was compromised and so many people failed. I will bet that someone will file a class action lawsuit to stop this train wreck in its tracks.

  13. Investigative Mind Says:

    This is very disturbing information regarding the testing process for supervisor promotion. For the most part of my career I had very good experienced supervisors until 3 to 4 years ago. Then it just went to the wayside, but I was hoping this testing process would be different.

    Very disappointing.

  14. Here's what I think Says:

    Louis is no longer. He will retire and be a bad memory.

  15. Not my cup of tea Says:

    For all of you Kool-Aid drinkers, I was recently at a meeting where it was disclosed that Tanaka is about to make an announcement that he is going to run for Sheriff against Baca. He reportedly is going to be surrounded by current and retired personnel at the rank of Captain and above. I was asked if I am going to be one of the individuals in the group. I laughed and said, “You wouldn’t find me within a hundred miles of the little man. I don’t owe him shit and the last thing I would do is throw my support towards that looser.” I just wonder if his election headquarters will be inside a Federal institution?

  16. shake my head Says:

    @ Investigative Mind. I would agree up until the last 3-4 years they really started picking political favorites from Band 2. Its amazing that Baca stated he wants experience but then you have 5 year deputies promoted to Sergeant already. I don’t know what they can teach to these young kids as they have little to no experience themselves. I think they should go back to a numbered list like LAPD to do away with the political picks.

  17. Wild Turkey Says:

    I’m really interested to see Tanaka make this announcement. I have some questions. How will he run if he’s indicted? If he’s so sure he’s not getting indicted, is that because he’s cooperating?

    Also, rumor has it he’s bragging about sinking a few million of his own dollars into his campaign. There are currently a couple people out there suing to get their hands on his money. How’s he going to handle that?

    The man’s mind is either infected by hubris, or he has a hard left turn in tactics coming that hasn’t been revealed yet.

  18. times awasting Says:

    Celeste, I would like to see how many people on the “pay to play” list, have continued to promote up the ranks. A report on the numbers was done before but where are they at now? I imagine that they have continued to promote even after Paul was quietly asked to retire.

  19. J.London Says:

    Regardless of the system or audits that are done NOTHING will change as long as people like Baca or Tanaka run the LASD! As with Cup of Tea I too have told Tanaka that I will not support him and Baca and I have not spoken in years. Those of us who choose to step back and not get involved I say to you “If you think it’s bad now what do you think Baca or Tanaka will do if one of these buffoons get into office!” If Baca or Tanaka get elected we will become the Detroit of Law Enforcement!

  20. Time to Clean House Says:

     It looks like the 2014 election  is going to be a soap opera between these two. Just what  we  don’t need. Hopefully, people will see Leroy and Paul for what they are. Paul  apparently has   some pretty deep pockets to fund his campaign according to this recent article.

  21. it'll never happen Says:

    No one will ever step forward to expose the cheating scandal. Two things: 1) they will be ostracized and sent to the cornfield, or 2) they will be discharged for cheating on a promotional exam. Personnel generates the exams. Who’s running personnel? How many minions have benn cycled through personnel? How many minions have been serving as proctors for the exam? How about cross indexing the campaign contributions lists, with the cigar club lists, and the names of those who have proctored the exams. Oh wait! Somebody already did ‘some’ of that. And there were some policy changes about campaign contributions, but heads never rolled. Paulie’s still got a county car and drawing a salary? Yes, there are some real ‘rocks’ running the asylum. Even worse, the assistant sheriff is trying to push a proficency enhancement program for patrol sgts/lts to bolster the meager skills PT’s political appointees brought to the table. More window dressing. Good luck with that.

  22. Not my cup of tea Says:

    @ The Truth. Excellent post and accurate. Hebert is an excellent example of what Tanaka has historically done. He has in true inner circle of personal friends, then he has an outer circle of individuals he simply uses. Hebert is a perfect example of that. Hebert was going nowhere fast, but introduced to the outer circle as a “team player.” That is simple code for “What ever you want, Paul.” Tanaka makes Hebert feel important, places him in Personnel and eventually promotes him to Captain. Why? Is Hebert anything special? Is he a real leader? Has he ever done anything special? Absolutely not, nothing, nada. But……… he rehearsed the line that opened the door, “Any thing you want, Paul. I’m all over it, Paul. Consider it done, Paul.” And that keeps the little man happy. Access to promotional examinations, before published test scores, movement, promotions, dirty deeds, money, recruitment, backgrounds, it all funnels into the Captain of Personnel’s domain. So Paul want’s something, he calls his boy. Should be of no surprise, look at historically who sat in that chair.

    I’ve been told by a few folks that many within the outer circle have removed the mirrors from their homes, they don’t like what they see. And then some don’t care, they never did, except for what is in it for themselves. This will all come out soon, and in a big way.

  23. Facts matter Says:

    If Tanaka throws his hat in the race, it will be a great Sheriff’s race. Although some may not like either candidate, a competitive race will be good. Whatever the result, change could be a good thing. We will see.

    Looking forward to the outcome in 2014!

  24. True North Says:

    This topic certainly got peoples’ attention, and rightfully so. If the allegations truly have validity and are backed by facts and hard evidence, then let the chips fall where they may. By hard evidence I speak of concrete proof, not scuttlebutt, conjecture or unreliable statements from a person who overheard something and twisted it to fit their narrative. Since an investigation is ongoing and I have no personal knowledge of the facts, I will not hypothesize and let the investigation run its course. However, there have been comments made regarding the integrity of particular individuals as noted in post #7. Let me dilute these inflammatory and slanderous comments with this:

    Let’s say the force packages mentioned were actually completed and submitted and were given to an intermediary or the operations staff at MCJ. This intermediary had a “Risk Management” position and was responsible for processing and reviewing administrative paperwork, including force investigations. Years later, due to an administrative investigation, it was found the hard copies, and some digital copies, of the packages were missing from the files; however, a tracking database indicated these “missing” packages were in fact completed and submitted. What happened to those packages? Many were later located unprocessed at MCJ, but I digress. Others were found completed in the MCJ digital files, but no hard copies were located. HHMMMM, would a supervisor really complete a package and do all the work, place it in the digital files, but not turn in the package to operations? Sounds a little fishy to me. In my experience the ops staff is on top of you if a package is a day or two late, let alone several years. They do not let that stuff slide! These packages were completed and submitted. They were then forwarded to the Risk Manager where they somehow dropped off the radar.

    Was the reason they were left unprocessed by the Risk Manager due to shear laziness? Was that person caught slacking and rather than man-up, decide to throw everyone else under the proverbial bus? Or, was is done intentionally to smear the reputations of certain individuals?

    Also, quite a number of competent, reputable people were accused of not having completed their force investigations; and remember, this all came about years later. Lucky for one of the accused, they kept copious notes and a personal spreadsheet that tracked each package they completed and submitted, along with supporting documentation. Unfortunately, for many, it was too late and the damage to their reputations had already been done.

    I personally refuse to throw out names of individuals who have been involved in any investigation, unfounded or otherwise. Especially if I have not done my homework. In addition, if some of these comments/allegations are being thrown out by current or former supervisors, shame on you! Are you not familiar with the POBR? They should probably make themselves more familiar with the FACTS before violating a Peace Officer’s rights. Wait, isn’t that a violation of the law? Uh oh, I smell hypocrisy a brewin’. Sounds like solid ground for more lawsuits. I hope the BOS and LASD are saving their pennies. A lot of nonsense has been thrown out on these blogs, which were ground through the Department rumor mill. Take heart for God’s sake. Do some research before you throw out names and violate the POBR, particularly of names of individuals who have been found guilty of NOTHING.

    As for the Risk Manager who was responsible for much of this fiasco; that person is now a captain. This person was long known for unethical behavior and was bounced from a station for rather “unsavory” tactics. Hypocracy is his game. The “Handcuffed Hero” will sooner or later answer to our friend karma. OOPS! Did I give away too much? Hurry, better grab you cloak and cover that yellow streak down your back… It is beginning to glow!

    Be wary of the seeds you sow, friends, for a reaping shall inevitably follow.

    My apologies for being long winded, but I could not let some of these comments go uncontested.

  25. LOL Says:

    So we look for the MCJ risk managers promoted to Captain? That’s easy…..but the completed copies were in the digital file and not the hard file? So they were reviewed and signed off? And the hard copies were missing? Or did they ever get reviewed? I am kinda confused? Exactly how does the paper flow? And how does that jibe with the alleged spot check wherein several force packages that were out of policy were completed and approved? Agreed, dishing up names is not cool, but there is a disconnect that has never been explained. How many packets were missing, how many were found, how many were out of policy, was there ever a comprehensive audit? Or was a boo boo discovered and swept under the rug with a “we’ll do better in the future”? Not necessarily an evil cabal, but not particularly competent, and no way to run an agency? Houston, Is there a problem or are those o-rings still on back order? or is this just another nothing to see here, folks — move along moment?

  26. True North Says:

    Paper comes in through ops, updated as submitted in the database (which, depending on how it is updated, would probably take it off the due or past due list), forwarded to RM for review, returned to ops for final processing and the capt’s review/signature. If it was left somewhere in limbo, the final capt’s review and perhaps administrative action/investigation wouldn’t have been done. Whether intentional or not, and regardless of how many packages were later found, the process was compromised. Who’s to say how many were actually submitted or not? An audit may have been completed, but if the system was compromised at an administrative level, what good would an audit do? Years have passed, evidence lost and tracks have been covered. But, for those who’s names have been dragged trough the mud, the damage has already been done. #25, that is my point. Rather than search for the truth, people were too quick to act, resulting in an questionable promotion on the backs of those lying underneath the wheels of the machine. Some realized the mistake, but it was too late. And, rather than correct the wrong, it was swept under the carpet. The question is…. by who? I’ll give you a hint… Believe it or not, it wasn’t the Undersheriff!

  27. Investigative Mind Says:

    Seems like another MOVE ALONG MOMENT. I have heard those words from higher ups too many times in the past 2 years. Except some things were not passed up and were “looked into” and then forgotten. All I know is I just returned from a function with those in attendance I have not seen in quite awhile.

    We all agreed on one thing during our conversation (especially the sgt exam fiasco) …we will be free to move on in a short while and so VERY HAPPY!!!

  28. Bandwagon Says:

    Whats with all the negativity? I am quite sure the Internal Affairs Bureau will conduct a full and thorough investigation regarding the cheating scandal……as they have on the rest of the allegations of corruption which has infected a once proud organization. Not sure who the current IAB Captain is…..but they can always recall the previous Captain. I found her quite proficient in the art of separating the truth from the desired outcome.

  29. Facts matter Says:

    #26 –

    If it wasn’t the Undersheriff, who was it?

    It seems like they always blame the “Fall Guy” by default.

    I hate all the deflection. Let’s get to the truth!

  30. J.London Says:

    Mind: I have been hearing that things will get better “soon” for fifteen years! Can you be a little more specific without names? I hope (I hate that word hope)you’re right!

  31. Facts matter Says:

    “I have been hearing that things will get better soon.”

    I’m sorry, but as long as the Sheriff is in office, nothing will get better “soon.”

  32. LOL Says:

    Not to be petty, North, no matter how u slice it, all this is at the feet of Leroy-I-Didn’t-Know-Baca. U have a lot of insight. Is it fair to say PT ran the show, promoted, assigned, covered, and approved the actions of his minions/proxies? A lotta of these folks weren’t particulary known for competence or character. There still aren’t enuff good actors to cover their missteps. Too many folks received too much too soon. They are very good at currying favor, not so good at completed staff work. Yes, the trail’s gone cold, and an audit is superfluous, but other than the fear of DOJ’s heightened scrutiny, is there anything like pride and professionalism driving the process, now? What have we done to guarantee a better result? Force is down because we stopped using it indiscriminately? stopped reporting it? changed the policy? How does that work? Are we better? and do supervisors have the skill sets to do the job? Morale still sucks. The Times and WLA don’t make this stuff up. They don’t have to. We’ve got our own no snitching gangsters. Imagine that. Baghdad Bob is still washing Baca’s shorts in the drinking fountain. Meanwhile, he’s Tom Sawyer — Leroy keeps promoting folks to whitewash the fence…..and I won’t name names, but there sure are a lotta lawsuits. Perhaps, I should get an attorney, too — nothing like lining up a payday and a promotion. Whoosha.

  33. CSN83 Says:

    My, my, my… what to address? This has turned so many different corners, I’m not quite sure what to talk about! BUT, this cheating on the sergeant’s exam is nothing new. It seems like every time there is an exam for sgt or LT there are rumors of cheating (don’t forget the old rumors about certain commanders calling certain people into HQ & giving them the answers to a test a few years back). I don’t remember anything being proven in the past, other than the LT exam note paper fiasco, yet it could not be proven although 2 or 3 people (unidentified) had taken copious notes from the open book portion of the exam. Too bad they didn’t put as much time & effort into studying! I DO know what steps Personnel takes to protect the test and the answers; especially since the last LT test mess. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, I’m just saying Mr. Hoffman has certainly put forth an extreme effort to make sure the tests are the most fair and not compromised. What happens above his pay grade, well, I don’t think he can be held accountable for that.

    @ Bandwagon — sadly, IAB is not all that it is cracked up to be. I’m not sure of this, but have heard that until recently one did not even need an investigative background to work there! Obviously, those who have that history are the shining stars there, but all too often those working the cases without investigative expertise, do just that! Work the case, spin the case, & mess with the wrong folks when the whole Department might (would) be better served if the focus was on the true culprits of various nefarious activity! It is even worse when people who believe themselves to be the end all & be all of IAB, who sat in a Chief’s Aide chair for 6, yes folks, SIX years, spin various cases, screw people over, back stab an Aero Captain, and then miraculously, FINALLY get the new outside “supposed Chief who doesn’t have a POST certificate and shouldn’t be flying because he’s half deaf but wants to spend his time flying instead of running Homeland Security Division in the Chief’s role, but doesn’t know what that is because he still thinks of himself as the Sheriff of Tuscaloosa Alabama who only got hired by Baca to try to persuade his son not to bring yet another lawsuit against the Department” (whew — taking a breath here) to get him promoted to Captain!!! And just where oh where does HE wind up as the Captain??? You guessed it!!! Aero Bureau! Give me a break, people, the stupidity is mind boggling. Do you think the supposed Chief’s boy Captain is going to tell him, “No, sir, you can’t fly..” ???? Imagine the liability to the Department AND the citizens of the great County of Los Angeles! And how about those true pilots? OH MY!

    But I digress, unfortunately, the former female captain of IAB is now the commander who oversees the witch hunts and for some unknown reason, seems to lack the, shall we say, fortitude, to look into those whose behavior and integrity really need to be investigated. The current female captain seems to be cut from the same mold.

    It is a sad state of affairs, folks… Just a very sad state of affairs.

  34. Investigative Mind Says:

    @ J London. I can’t (won’t) get into specifics. It is amazing when people get together and catch up on what has been going on with the department/L.A. County/attorneys, etc.

    All I know is our small group is very happy where we are right now in our personal/professional life. Cuz Lord knows we were put through the wringer for being honest in the past, but now being left alone for doing the right thing. Good luck to the rest out there who are doing the Lord’s work. There is a light at the end of the tunnel; you just have to fight very hard for it…even if it is with your own department members.

  35. White_Pawn Says:

    Well I am super glad I studied hard for my 85. Maybe if I get a juice card in the next few months I can get a 100% oral and barely make it. Right next to the guy who did the test in 30 minutes while I took two hours and stayed to key it like a good boy.
    I really wonder what it would take to turn this place around, I’m going to puke if I see another list of Autistic, knuckle-dragging cavemen lined up to get their stripes on at Goodies because they somehow scored a 98 on the written. Cocks.
    Would a retake really change anything? Methinks they aren’t going to catch even 20% of them, and they probably have all of the pool questions developed last year, not just the ones on this test.
    I guess the families who had a daddy or mommy who studied like good scouts can wait to get their piece of the pie.

  36. Facts matter Says:


    WOW! That is some great insight!


    The circus in the Baca regime continues.

  37. Surprised Says:

    #35 – Maybe you aren’t a test taker. Maybe an 85 is the limit of your abilities. Perhaps you will need a juice card to get a 100 oral. Look in the mirror, maybe you are an autistic knuckle dragger if all you can manage is an 85 after months of studying and 2 hours to take a simple test.

  38. FF1 Says:

    LA County Fire Dept had same problem in 1989 when test and key was were used at a $10 tutoring session put on by a firefighter association. Chief Freeman required everybody to retake the written test. It’s probably the safest way to ensure a valid test after it’s been compromised.

    County Probes Fire Dept. Test Cheating Claim

    Reports that some would-be firefighters have breached the security of an aptitude test for the Los Angeles County Fire Department by studying the actual examination in advance are being investigated by the county’s Internal Services Department, authorities confirmed Thursday.

    Internal Services Chief Deputy Director Bill Allen said he has ordered the department’s testing unit, which prepares and gives the exam, to find out whether copies of a qualifying examination may have been used to tutor potential candidates.

    If it is found that people have cheated, Allen said, his department will attempt to determine how the actual test got out and who is responsible. Then, he said, he will meet with county fire officials to determine what should be done.

    The entry-level exam, aimed basically at testing mechanical aptitude, has been administered recently to 4,000 to 5,000 people who hope to be included on a Fire Department hiring list. The potential candidates also face oral interviews.

    County Fire Chief Mike Freeman said he was informed late Wednesday that a number of test takers may have seen the examination in advance. Because his department does not prepare or give the exam, Freeman said he asked county officials to investigate.

    “It would be inappropriate to do anything until the allegations are substantiated,” Freeman said. “I think the important thing right now is that I’m taking decisive and appropriate action.”

    If it is determined that there has been a breach of security and members of the Fire Department are involved, Freeman said he will order an investigation and contact appropriate law enforcement agencies.

  39. White_Pawn Says:

    Surprised. Classic comeback from someone who is on the “list” everyone here is taking about. Only a person offended by the comment would snap back. You must be a terrible chess player.

    “2 hour SIMPLE test.” Hahahaha.

  40. Huh??? Says:

    @CSN83…. My my, you type with run-ons and fragmented sentences.. How about using some punctuation next time? About the air support captain, the current one I hear is superb. The previous one, can’t even show up to his new unit (TRAP) because he is disgraced. So are his “helpers.” It’s obvious you must be a disgruntled tenected-boy as well, since all you do is attack attack and attack one’s previous career background and experience. Are you attacking someone you dont know personally, because YOU yourself are insecure and frustrated? You’re self-serving, self-indulgent and arrogance speaks volumes of your own insecurities.

    Ask yourself, where where you in 1986? San Clemente perhaps?

  41. CSN83 Says:

    @White Pawn… I agree. I have mentored many people who just aren’t test takers. That doesn’t have anything to do with their leadership abilities nor their experience on the job. Some folks just freeze up on exams. That has nothing to do with their performance in the field or the ability to lead troops in the right direction. It IS part of the promotional process many of us have endured. Maybe the person who finished in 30 minutes gave up, wrote some expletives on the bottom of the answer sheet, & walked out!! Who knows? You guys/gals who were there taking the test know who that person is & you can figure it out when the results are posted.
    I don’t understand why Surprised came at you like that, but I agree, you must have touched a raw nerve. The response just doesn’t make sense.

  42. Lesser evil Says:

    Hey Huh, you may wanna do your homework before you spill off accusations about being “Disgruntled.” Are you a Boot Licker of our current corrupt Baca regime? Were you promised promotion based on blind loyalty and cronyism? Glad things will be figured out soon.

  43. CSN83 Says:

    BTW Huh??? –that was totally intentional — if you didn’t catch it, I specifically said, “Whew,,taking a breath here,” to indicate my run-on sentence was intentional…! DUH…

    Not sure what the rest of rant means, but whatever you mean, I’m sure you have the best interests of the LASD in your heart and mind.

  44. Bobbi Says:

    Sounds like business as usual. Boy oh boy, 2014 is going to be exciting. I can’t wait.
    Everybody picking sides like a schoolyard kickball game. I have awesome seats for the show. Keep that hot buttered popcorn coming.

  45. Bandwagon Says:


    Could not agree with you more! I actually entered the Department in 82. So we both have some time on. When I spoke of the previous Captain (now Commander) of the Internal Affairs Bureau, I spoke from personal knowledge and experience. As far as “Huh” is concerned…….turn in your coin.

  46. Roy Says:

    I started my career with LASD over 43 years ago and have been retired for over 15 years… I am sick and tired of reading all the negative news regarding the agency I served for 30 years…

  47. Facts matter Says:


    It is going to get ugly. This excerpt from 1998 appears very familiar now. Especially Blocks assessment of Baca:

    “Block said Baca dragged his feet in handling employee grievances and reduced disciplinary measures imposed on deputies under his command who were found to have acted inappropriately and on supervisors who failed to supervise properly.”

    WOW so true and it’s crazy how history repeats it’s self. Notice Block was seeking a 5th term too.

    “Seeking his fifth four-year term in Los Angeles County’s highest-paid office, Block accused Baca, a former sheriff’s division chief, of a record of procrastination and fear of confrontation.”


    We may have a NEW Sheriff in 2014 folks!

  48. Breaking News Says:

    Stand-by folks for a new name to surface within the next couple of weeks as candidate for Sheriff. For all of the great LASD employees who are sick and tired of the on-going cut throat politics, pay for play, cigar club boot lickers, scandal after scandal, inept, unethical and mismanagement and politics over public safety, stand-by to stand-by, a new name has just surfaced and the decision has been made. The decision has been made by the right individual for the right reason. It will be a once in a career opportunity for all to bring integrity, vision and leadership back into the Office of Sheriff, LASD.

    Stay tuned.

  49. CSN83 Says:

    Well Facts #47
    “Block said Baca dragged his feet in handling employee grievances and reduced disciplinary measures imposed on deputies under his command who were found to have acted inappropriately and on supervisors who failed to supervise properly.”

    Sounds like Baca has not changed much. It is obvious that if he never admits to a problem, never reads about a problem, never signs anything than he “was not advised of a problem”. He pleads “I was not advised” and keeps his job.

    PT worked under the watch full eye of Baca. When it all comes out Baca will shake his head and say, “I was never advised by PT, Ditmore or Sexton (sorry you are part of the team now).

    It is not about PT anymore and has not been for awhile. It is about Baca and who he will chose to do his dirty deeds for him. The only one left standing now is Baca and I am positive that when the S hits the fan he will blame everything on PT and say he was not aware of the situation.
    Stand by and watch. Block seems to have been onto something……..

  50. Aero guy Says:

    As far as captain Ramirez ‘s (the current capt of aero) past record is concerned , I have no idea what he did or didn’t do, nor do I care. He is doing just fine at aero ,of course he has the worlds easiest act to follow. Louie Duran is a fool.

  51. J.London Says:

    Roy #46: All of us who care agree that none of this had to happen. Just imagine if Baca had done the job he was voted in to do? Weekly, if not daily there is yet one more scandal within our once great LASD. There are many to blame from Stonich, Waldie and the coup de gras Tanaka. However, the responsibility rest with one person and that’s Lee Baca! As I near retirement I am deeply grieved that all this S was caused by one person!

    There has been far too much blood, death and sacrifice on our Memorial Wall to lay down for Baca or Tanaka! Regardless, if I am working or soon retired I will fight back with all I have!

    Maybe when things get cleaned up we can sit and have a cup?

  52. I have faith again Says:

    Roy, your old. So damn old you stopped mattering. Please stop reading the Witness La articles if you’re so tired of hearing all the bad news. Your so bored with retirement this gives you something to live for. Enjoy it, it’s entertainment and it’s free.

  53. Huh! Says:

    @ Celeste and the rest of the bloggers, Take note of the person who has chosen to sign on as “Huh???” as opposed to my blog identity “Huh!” that I believe I have been using for longer than he/she. That person is clearly blind to the departments wrong doings as opposed to myself who knows Baca and Tanaka are both responsible for the departments downfall. I suspect the use of that blog name is to confuse.

  54. Bobbi Says:

    A different story on my earlier post.

  55. Celeste Fremon Says:


    Okay, #53, got it. Thanks for the heads up.

    #40, choose a new commenter’s name. I won’t let you through with this one in the future.

    Thanks for your cooperation.


  56. Lesser evil Says:

    When does it stop? Maybe Steve Lopez was on to something. The Sheriff needs to step down!

  57. CSN83 Says:

    #50 Aero guy. Some who know this fine officer you care so much about are calling this the” Honeymoon Stage”. Wait till he wants something else…

    I find it concerning that you don’t care about his past record, You have no idea what he did or didn’t do, and you don’t care. As far as you are concerned he is doing just fine at aero. Great to know how you feel.

    #53 HUH!. I must say i went back in time trying to figure what had happened to you. (HUH???) That person was so out in left field, not paying attention and talking about San Clemente? No idea, and figured someone might have had a few too many drinks or perhaps felt we were talking about him???

  58. Huh! Says:

    @CSN83, I’ve been lying low. You guys have been so good about posting commentary equivalent to my mindset, and quick to respond, that I’ve felt no need. I did, however, have to chime in before I was accused of changing sides. I don’t know who that character (Huh???) is, but makes me wonder how or why he used a similar blog name. It would be really interesting to be able to use our real names with no fear of repercussions. The sad part is, I’m sure most of us don’t “physically” fear any of these execs, but we all know how they like to “beat down” your career, if you don’t fall into “lock step!”

  59. Duude Says:

    Dude, seriously, the “answers” to the exam are known, policies are known, laws are known. If you want a high score, you just make an outline and review it. Its not top secret.

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