DCFS’s $153 Tape Dispensers….and Are the Feds Doing the DA’s Job In Prosecuting Deputy Brutality in LA’s Jails?

WitnessLA is still on a break,
but there are a couple of local stories, in this case both of them from the LA Times, that we don’t think you should miss, so we’re very briefly coming out of our holiday cave to let you know.


This is not the first time this year that LA County’s Department of Children and Family Services has been criticized for sloppy fiscal management. For instance, last spring WitnessLA wrote about an Auditor-Controller’s report, which indicated that, in a four month period, $571,000 worth of MTA passes and/or tokens were never given out by LA county social workers to the foster kids who urgently needed them.

Now Garrett Therolf from the LA Times reports on the results of a more recent audit showing a pattern of overspending on various kinds of office equipment that seems to defy any rational explanation.

Here’s a clip from Therolf’s story:

The Department of Children and Family Services, which Los Angeles County auditors have criticized for poor fiscal oversight, now is facing questions about its spending practices — specifically its office equipment purchases.

Among the items acquired in recent months: $374 headsets and a $153 automatic tape dispenser.

Philip Browning, head of the department, said that he has made equipment and technology upgrades a priority following years of neglect. Outfitting case workers with iPhones, dictation technology and ergonomically sound furniture makes them more efficient, he said.

“It’s appropriate to keep employees safe and healthy,” he said. “We spend a huge amount of money on workers’ comp. We need to address that.”

According to department records, the DCFS paid $348,000 in fiscal 2014 for supplies and equipment. That amount more than doubled, to $709,000, in fiscal 2015. And in the first four months of the current fiscal year, the department spent $700,000-plus on the equipment — more than the similarly sized probation department did the last two full years.

A review of invoices by The Times showed that the DCFS bought the wireless office headsets when a comparable, wired alternative was available for $20 — a potential savings of more than $350 each.

Officials said that employees were not required to choose the most cost-effective products to meet their ergonomic needs. And if workers say they need an item to prevent injuries, department policy dictates that they probably will get it, even if the same product has been provided to the same worker before.

No doctor’s note is required, according to department policy.

The variety of products available is vast. One employee requested and received the $153 electric tape dispenser. Another, records show, asked for a $49 doze alert — a device that wakes up someone who has drifted off. Request approved.

There’s more, so read the rest.


On November 30 of this year, federal Judge George H. King sentenced former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies, Sussie Ayala, 30, and Fernando Luviano, 37, to six and seven years respectively in a federal prison.

The sentencing followed Ayala and Luviano’s conviction on June 24, 2015, along with their supervisor, former LASD sergeant Eric Gonzalez, of charges pertaining to the brutal beating of a handcuffed visitor to Men’s Central Jail, Gabriel Carrillo, along with a conspiracy to cover up the beating by falsifying official reports, thus causing Carrillo to be criminally charged as the aggressor, which could have resulted in a fourteen year prison sentence.

Yet, even after evidence suggested wrongdoing on the part of Carrillo’s accusers surfaced as Carrillo’s lawyer prepared his defense, neither sheriff’s department investigators or the DA’s office seemed to look past the accounts presented by the deputies involved.

Now most of those deputies are going to prison.

The LA Times’ Joel Rubin reports on the issue in a story titled: Feds did what the L.A. prosecutors didn’t do: bring deputies in jail visitor’s beating to justice

Here’s a clip:

But be sure to read the whole thing.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department already was engulfed in a jail brutality scandal when a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office examined the beating of Gabriel Carrillo.

During a visit to the county’s main jail in February 2011, Carrillo had been left badly bloodied and bruised by a group of deputies, who broke his nose and pepper sprayed him in the face. The deputies claimed Carrillo had attacked them; Carrillo denied that and insisted he had been handcuffed during the beating.

The county prosecutor rejected Carrillo’s account.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the deputies acted inappropriately,” the prosecutor wrote in a 2012 internal memo that rejected filing charges against the deputies.

It took an investigation by federal officials to prove the district attorney’s office wrong.

This year, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office secured criminal convictions against five of the deputies, including two who admitted in court that they participated in an assault on Carrillo while he was handcuffed. Three have been given prison terms; two more are expected to be sentenced next month.

District attorney’s officials defend their office’s handling of the case, saying their review was hamstrung because Carrillo would not speak with investigators about the beating.

But Carrillo and his attorney accuse the office of discounting evidence of wrongdoing that proved key to the federal prosecution.

Advocates for inmates rights say the case shows that the district attorney’s office has not been aggressive enough at holding deputies accountable for abuses in county jails at a time when federal authorities and a blue-ribbon panel found evidence of persistent brutality.

“The D.A. is supposed to be a check on illegal behavior by law enforcement. In the jails, we have a very real example of its complete failure,” said Peter Eliasberg, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the court-ordered monitor in the jails.

Although accusations of abuse of inmates have dogged the Sheriff’s Department for years, prosecutions of deputies for excessive force in the jails have been rare.


  • Instead of “owning” up to a incomplete & raggedy investigation, the District Attorney office makes an excuse for their incompetence by blaming the victim. Are you serious?

    They should feel stupid knowing that big brother (Feds) had to come in and get the job done.

    Los Angeles County Politics at its best. Thank God for Police who police the Police.

  • This is hardly news to me as I saw this waste for almost 16 years in the county’s purchasing department (Internal Services Department-ISD), nor is this sample of waste only at Chilrens’ Services. The gee-whiz new gadget will in a few weeks end up in a dusty empty cubicle when employees find that they’re more a hindrance than not and they will move to the next item they see in the master agreement that my department has approved.

    You would think there would be a way to find this waste before it happens and deal with it, nope, it’s always when a “disgruntled” employee leaks it. Rest assured the department will be looking for the source of the leak instead of ensuring the best price for what is truly needed, not what employees said they needed. Don’t give it to them and they will be dealing with the union plus “disability” cases like the ones at MLK before it was closed where there were disability cases where the employees fell off their chairs, no doubt from dozing off.

  • Once again in ALADS December Dispatcher V.P. spouts legal representation for members. My question is how much is Dick Shinee paying this guy. Sean: You’re better off not saying anything about legal representation. Stick with ALADS annual picnic @ Raging Waters.
    I hope that Jeff Steck enjoys the humble pie that was presented to him in the election last month. I’m sure he has many lies and war stories to tell anyone who will listen. Handle your calls, son.

  • @ 4) A double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.
    Steck’s arrogance, instability and lack of institutional knowledge caught up with him. He definitely did not do Alads members any favors.

    Now I can go to briefings without hearing his BS or his campaign crap. Can’t say too much about the current cast of characters also. Let’s see how Ron works his magic. Membership is waiting.

  • Los Angeles County Tax Payer, Have the cajones to leave your name, since you have a strong opinion on LA Co politics and policing the police….Ron A. Robles.

  • ALADS is a joke. They don’t fight for anything. They don’t stand for anything. Here is a quote from McDonnell. “While were heavily recruiting and we want to be able to fill the ranks, we’d rather work short than hire the wrong people.”

    I haven’t seen the sheriff or rogers work the line. Keep it real your not working short. I am sure your staff is full. Mcdonnell how about working on getting staffing levels for safety of your community and Deputy Sheriffs.

    ALads how about stop being scared.

    I know you read this Sheriff.

    Why is it acceptable to have only one partner in the county area, especially on the weekends.

    What are the response times in the county area. How many times are the times adjusted.

    Instead of worrying about uniforms how about get training for Deputies.

    How about having your weekend duty commanders talk to the Deputies with some respect or at least have some professionalism.

    Hw about you look at units that have take home cars. Do they really NEED them. Ask your commanders if they only use their car for business only. Maybe some one should investigate this.

    Or simply ask them. If they lie fire them. Hold everyone accountable the same way.

  • My name is Legion Region. My aka is Everyday People. I’m also known by the name of Brutal Truth. You are surrounded by me, every time you exit your home. You yourself are either the guilty party or ignorant of reality. Obviously your feathers were plucked by my statement of truth. You are in the minute mindless minority, if you have any issue with my entry, be it on the left or right. Surely if you were to be deposed, it would reveal your true identity and motive.

  • @ 6. Pat Max / Ron A.Robles. Although opinionated, what is it that draws you to “call out” #2 LACT. Is it the nerve to state his/her feelings or the perhaps the validity there of? With this being an open forum to comment, what is your take?

  • @ bigdog. There is is no incentives for ALADS to get off their ass to do anything. They already have deputies money through automatic dues. Any deputy with a functional brain can figure that out. Obviously the Sheriff knows that also. Do you really think McDonnell is worried abot ALADS.

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