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Peace Officer Unions Back McDonnell for Sheriff….CA Kids May Face Mandatory Minimums….State Starting Early Release of Elderly and Sick Inmates…and More

June 17th, 2014 by Taylor Walker


Today, a number of law enforcement unions will be announcing their unified endorsement of Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell for the office of Sheriff of LA County. Representatives from the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS), the LA County Professional Peace Officer Association (PPOA), Probation Officers, AFSCME Local 685, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), and the Long Beach Police Officers Association will gather at a press conference at 10:30a.m., at the ALADS offices in Monterey Park.

PPOA announced their endorsement last Thursday afternoon, and many were waiting to see what ALADS would do, as both PPOA and ALADS had declined to endorse anyone during the primary election. A source close to the unions said that the LAPPL and the Long Beach Police Officers Association had been interested in endorsing McDonnell during the primary, but due to something called “the hometown rule” they had to wait until the unions to which LASD personnel belong (ALADS and PPOA) made their moves.

Thus far, no one has announced that they will be giving money along with their endorsement, but that may (or may not) come later.


A California bill that would impose the first ever mandatory minimum sentences in the state’s juvenile justice system, SB 838, is currently making its way through California legislature. The bill, authored by Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), directed at kids convicted of certain sex offenses, would eliminate judges’ discretion and ability to choose community-based rehabilitative options, and replace it with mandatory incarceration.

The California Senate has unanimously passed the bill, and today (Tuesday), the Assembly Public Safety Committee will vote on the measure. (And we at WLA will be keeping an eye on it.)

The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice has more on the bill (and why they are opposing it). Here’s a clip:

Mandatory minimums violate the foundational principles of the juvenile justice system. If SB 838 becomes law and introduces mandatory minimum sentences into the juvenile justice system, the consequences would be significant for California’s youth. The bill would upend a system grounded in rehabilitation — and the understanding that young people can change — and replace it with one focused on retribution and punishment for California’s most troubled and vulnerable youth.

Mandatory minimums do not prevent crime. Research on mandatory minimum sentencing schemes across the nation has failed to find evidence that they have reduced crime — but substantial evidence that they have driven the nation’s skyrocketing incarceration rates, exacerbated racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and dramatically increased the length of prison sentences. SB 838 would replicate these same failed policies for California’s youth, at great public expense.


The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has announced the state will commence with the early release of elderly and seriously ill prisoners who meet certain requirements to either parole or nursing facilities. The move is part of the state’s ongoing efforts to comply with a federal order to ease prison overcrowding. (Backstory here.)

The LA Times’ Paige St. John has the story. Here’s a clip:

Inmates who are over 60 and have spent at least 25 years in prison will be eligible for release if they are not sentenced to death or serving life without parole sentences. Those hearings are to begin in October, board executives said.

Prisoners whose health conditions require they receive skilled nursing care will also be eligible to be moved to health care or nursing facilities — but if they recover they face a return trip to prison. Hearings under the new rules, which reflect an expansion of existing medical parole, are to begin by July 1, a board attorney said.


Ventura County law enforcement officers have been receiving comprehensive training in how to deal with the mentally ill, and thus far, it’s making a big difference. Experts say that law enforcement mental health training offerings like Ventura County’s “Crisis Intervention Team” program can help officers prevent tense encounters with the mentally ill from escalating unnecessarily.

Currently, 72% of Ventura officers have received 40 hours of instruction in handling situations involving people with mental disorders. While this is a welcome step in the right direction, in Ventura and other counties (cough, Los Angeles, cough), often the training does not extend to jails, prisons, and other agencies where things can fall apart.

KPCC’s Stephanie O’Neill has the story. Here’s a clip:

Debbie is a Ventura County mother of a 23-year-old son diagnosed with bipolar disorder. At times his condition becomes so severe that he gets delusional and requires hospitalization.

“He doesn’t understand that he’s ill and that he needs help,” Debbie says. “He thinks he’s fine.”

Debbie, who asked that her last name be withheld for privacy reasons, says when that happens, she calls the sheriff’s department for help – as she did earlier this year. Their response, she says, was heartening.

“The police officers…were so great, because they kept telling him, ‘You’re not in trouble, we’re here to help you,’ ” she says. “So they weren’t threatening; they didn’t scare him. It stayed really, really calm.”

And that allowed the deputies to take Debbie’s son to the county psychiatric hospital for emergency observation without incident.

“As far as a bad experience goes, it was as good a bad experience as was possible in this situation,” she says.

The responding deputies included several who had received 40 hours of training in handling the mentally ill through Ventura County’s “Crisis Intervention Team” program. The training is based on a renowned model started in Memphis, Tennessee in 1988 that is now taught worldwide.

Tragedies such as the Isla Vista massacre and the Kelly Thomas case in Orange County have highlighted the need for improved training for law enforcement personnel who come into contact with the mentally ill.

So far, 72 percent of all law enforcement officers have completed the Crisis Intervention Team training in Ventura County, says Kiran Sahota, who oversees the program for the county.

“The idea is to hopefully help to deescalate and slow down the situation,” Sahota says. “And sometimes by just knowing ahead of time that (law enforcement officers) are going to be listening and spending a little extra time, it really can defuse a situation.”

But even in Ventura County, breakdowns can happen…

Read the rest.

Posted in juvenile justice, LAPD, LAPPL, LASD, law enforcement, Mental Illness, parole policy, Sentencing, Uncategorized | 29 Comments »

29 Responses

  1. Sachamoe Says:

    The PPOA and ALADS endorsement of McDonnell, the outsider, is a humiliating and political devastating defeat for Tanaka. It is beyond humiliation, this is a message aimed directly at Tanaka and his boot licking band of bullies, it’s over. Tanaka plotted and schemed like a chess player, the takeover and control of the unions, Chicago style. It was all part of his master plan hatched years ago. But like all tyrants, their day and all of those who carried his water, will come. It’s just starting folks and the fury that is about to be unleashed on you and your jackals will be of biblical proportions. And when it’s over, you will be taken to the cleaners. McDonnell is measuring the drapes and the Tanaka boot licks are trying to find a way out. It ain’t gonna happen, you’re going down with the ship and there is no band playing music for you.

  2. Mutual Assured Destruction Says:

    It has to be a crushing blow to Paul’s ego.

  3. Tell the bugler to play TAPS Says:

    I wonder how many pools there are floating around the LASD about when Tanaka drops out of the race. He can’t win. It’s over. The fat lady is singing loudly. Very loudly.

  4. Aladdin Says:

    This should also send a message to the infiltrators in ALADS & POPA. You know who you are and so do we. No life line or life jacket. Walk the plank. P.S. to POPA & ALADS. McDonnell winning is a no- brainer… the members money to spend on a treat for them.

  5. LATBG Says:

    The saddest part is these Tanaka bootlickers are still strutting around the department, just like the emperor with no clothes. We know who you are, how you got there, and what you did in exchange. It’s embarrassing and disgusting how you sold your own ethics and the department’s reputation for a quick buck.

    Save what little dignity you have left and retire quietly. You can count your ill-earned LACERA loot in the quiet comfort of your out-of-state home.

    Perhaps you can take your Tanaka t-shirt with you to dust off your retirement memorabilia.

    You have earned the scorn of the entire honest, hard-working members of the department who never bought into your bullshit.

    As you were fond of saying before in your hubris, you’ve been put “in check.”

  6. The Bear Goes Everywhere Says:

    At this point every day Tanaka stays in the race is another day LASD can’t heal. He may, by the fraction of a percent that McDonnell didn’t get in order to win outright, have the right to remain in the race through November … but it’s selfish. And more than, it’s spiteful and harmful to the LASD, which needs to move on.

  7. Truth Serum Says:

    Attention: ALADS members. …Now that it is known that Paul Tanaka will not get endorsed by the Big POA’S in Los Angeles County, be somewhat relieved.The next biggest hurdle for ALADS is not to be tricked into letting RETIRED deputy Floyd Hayhurst con his way into the Executive Director position at ALADS taking ($150,000 yearly) of memberships money. He’s desperate for the power of the position. LASD is shedding off old skin. Members of ALADS….. Don’t be fooled by any of his tainted followers. Say No to Hayhurst, should he try to weasel his way in. Stay alert and demand that ALADS get A FRESH & NEW & QUALIFIED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR when that time comes. Stay Focused Members. The dime that is spent at ALADS is yours.

  8. Oh Well Says:

    Can you quit with the “Hard working” label. That’s the same way Tanaka’s supporters refer to themselves. I’ve yet to hear a member of the dept. say: “I’m a lazy slug”. I’m sure many of Tanaka’s supporters are, in fact, hard workers. There are those too who are lazy and use their connection to Tanaka to further their career, in spite of a sub par performance.
    Of course some of Tanaka’s supporters are still going to strut. That’s what they do. That’s why they alienate people. That’s why Tanaka only got 14% of the vote in spite of having the most money. Many of Tanaka’s supporters are the very worst ambassadors a politician could have. Many of them believe they are superior to anybody not in their circle, and they let people know it. What they’ve found out, as has Paul Tanaka, is that even if it is a fairly good sized circle, it’s still far far smaller than the big circle of the rest of the department. Many of Tanaka’s supporters have gone out of their way to consistently alienate their fellow dept. members ever since Tanaka became an Assistant Sheriff. On June 4th they realized how that worked out for their man.
    The message has been delivered. Being an arrogant asshole (whether you’re squared away or not) is not going to endear you or your desired candidate to the majority.
    Paul Tanaka, and his supporters, found out the hard way that RII is a small part of the dept. It might be staffed with the hardest workers. The cops who work there might be the most squared away.
    It’s still a small circle compared to the rest of the dept.

  9. LATBG Says:

    I hear you Oh Well, I should incorporate different terminology. I agree there are hard workers, slugs, and everything in between in every unit on the department. The Tanaka crowd and Paul himself claimed they put people in check for not doing their job. That job turned out to be carrying his water, and those who refused were labelled “lazy.”

    I can only hope we all strive to do the public’s work and put this dark chapter behind us.

  10. Yesterday's News Says:

    Just a reminder to the anti-Tanaka people. …..Don’t count him completely out until after the election in November. Remember the scenario with Block vs Baca.Block was a cinch until the accident in which Block ultimately succumbed the other his injuries. Let us pray that forbearance of any accident or incident, Jim McDonnell will be the next elected Sheriff of Los Angeles County. I’m not a Tanaka guy, just stating a fact that should not be ruled out with over confidence for McDonnell and the underestimating of Tanaka.

  11. Oh Well Says:

    You’re right # 10. If McDonnell dies, gets arrested for a felony, or is caught on film with five hookers in a motel room he won’t be the next sheriff.
    I thought that went without saying. Anything short of a catastrophe, he’s the man.

  12. 10-33_Go Says:

    Well put, Yesterday’s News. Tanaka’s only hope is that McDonnell dies. A person who holds out for such should not only not be sheriff but should also not be a peace officer (or arguably legal voter). So if Tanaka stays in the race (such as it is), it should be that much more of a motivator to completely devastate him in November. And will be that much more of a mandate for McDonnell (as if he needed it). Hopefully Tanaka will do the stand-up thing and let LASD move on.

  13. Sachamoe Says:

    Is it possible Tanaka has been told if any, most or all of The Tanaka 6 crew members are convicted in this trial, he will be indicted along with Baca? Perhaps that is why his campaign calendar has been blank as of late. I had a friend tell me yesterday, “The wheels have come off of Tanaka’s chariot and now he’s riding on the axles.” I have to laugh at that mental image, would make for a great photoshop project. LOL. @ Yesterday, you are correct, it ain’t over until November.

  14. Read it and Weep Says:

    I noticed former LA City councilman Alarcon and his wife are ready to start their Felony trial for voter fraud. Something about he and his wife claimed to live in his specific LA City District boundaries but actually lived elsewhere, can you believe that.

    Heck, that would be as crazy as an elected official claiming to live full time in Gardena, but actually residing in some far out area like Diamond Bar. Can you imagine that? I’m sure the rumors of some type of pending action are phony.

  15. The Past Says:

    #13 Sachamoe, unlike the Block/Baca election, McDonnell would still win if he passed on anywhere near the the election date. Tanaka would be known for having lost to a dead guy, perfect. The libertarians I know think a dead politician is always the best candidate.
    On a more serious note, Paul Tanaka would be well advised to withdraw because the political winds demand an indictment if he stays in the race.

  16. Fed Up Says:

    I wonder why prior county cell phone records were subpoenaed a few months ago, seems a lot of those were friends/contributors of PT too!

  17. Insider Says:

    #14, I hope they nail Ret. Ast. Sheriff Rhambo for perjury. In 2003, he claimed to reside in a trailer in Compton, just behind Compton College. That’s the year he lost in a land slide for the City of Compton Mayor’s job….

  18. Toddkissbutt Says:

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  19. Real Deal Says:

    @17) Let it go and don’t allow it to consume you. There are more open targets to go after, that are still on the department.

  20. Jack Dawson Says:

    No shit.

    There is a buffet on the 8th floor.

  21. Generalhuthut Says:

    Speaking of Cecil:

  22. Read it and Weep Says:

    @21, I’d laugh if it were not so pathetic. By using Carson’s logic, I guess I’m qualified to be a physician because I’ve watched every episode of MASH.

    There is something quite fishy about this appointment.

  23. The Past Says:

    #22 Read & Weep, thank for the genuine laugh. You’re right it is a curious hire & you wonder who backed him. The scenario reminds of the Abbot & Costello “who’s on first”‘routine or thinking that one of the Three Stooges fits your hiring standards.

  24. In my 33 years of service... Says:

    Good job, my friend Cecil.

  25. LATBG Says:

    Cecil has no business being hired as dogcatcher, let alone assistant city manager. In my 33 years of service, I take it you’re not too concerned about the welfare and budget of the city of Carson…

  26. Jack Dawson Says:

    That’s cool. Maybe he can do a reenactment of SNL’s “I’m on a boat” with former captain from Carson station again. Two news stations were looking into the contact but the agencies didn’t want to get in the mud w LASD and confirm.

    I hear it’s completely legal to hang out with people who disclose law enforcement sensitive information to Compton gang members.

    This circus never ends when fools continue overlook character….

    Good luck to the city of Carson.

  27. InterestedParty Says:

    Is this the same Cecil Rhambo pictured tossing gang signs alongside disgraced former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka? Is this the same man who rode Paul Tanaka’s shirttails to slither his way up to A/S? This appointment smells purely of rotten politics. Knowing Cecil the way I do, he was greasing the wheels, glad-handing City of Carson politicians at council meetings and city events while he was a lieutenant there. LASD’s gain, Carson’s loss.

  28. Final Act Says:

    @ #21>>>>#29. Read #19, take shallow breaths then move on. The only thing you get from beating a dead horse is more scattering of flies.

  29. LATBG Says:

    True, but this particularly virulent strain of corruption must be dealt with wherever it rears its ugly head. To put your head in the sand and say “oh well” is to enable a wider circle of corruption outside the infected host.

    Perhaps Carson should take a look at the public filings of lawsuits that already name Rhambo.

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