PAY TO PLAY
Does the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department have an unofficial quid pro quo promotion system?
By Matthew Fleischer
With statistical reporting from James Molyneux and the UCLA Statistical Consulting Center
This summer, I received a phone call from a source in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who said he had information about Undersheriff Paul Tanaka’s pay-to-play scheme.
“Pay-to-play exists in the LA Sheriff’s Department,” he said. “I know because I paid.”
I was shocked. I’d spoken to several donors to Tanaka’s various Gardena political campaigns who alleged that donors were given preferential treatment in the promotion process. (Along with being the second in command at the nation’s largest sheriff’s agency, Tanaka is also the mayor of Gardena, and previously held a seat on the City Council.) But none went so far as to admit they intentionally paid to play—simply that they had been wrangled into donating by colleagues, or were friendly with Tanaka at the time and expected no recompense.
I confirmed the source’s name on Tanaka’s donor rolls as having given $100 for the year he named, as well as several names of other department members he claims were present at a fundraising event he described attending. He agreed to meet me for lunch to tell me his story, provided I refrained from using his name or including any identifying information about him for fear of retribution from the Sheriff’s Department. In honoring that request, I’m calling him Deputy Brogan, though that’s neither his name nor his rank.
GETTING ASKED TO THE DANCE
In 2004, Brogan was a department veteran who for years had been doing all he could to move up the ranks, without a hint of success. Brogan said his work was not the issue.
“For years I saw people with far less experience working their way up the ladder, and I thought, ‘What do I have to do to get ahead in this department?’”
According to Professional Peace Officers Association (PPOA) President Brian Moriguchi, the textbook path to promotion within the LASD depends on a breadth of job experience, good leadership skills, and solid testing.
“Employees should be encouraged to gain as much experience as possible in different departmental units,” he tells WitnessLA, “patrol, custody, detectives and administrative positions. That’s ideally what you’re looking for. Someone with broad experience so they have some knowledge of the work performed by those they supervise. There’s also a testing process that occurs. Right now they do a banding process [for sergeants and lieutenants].”
The “banding process” is a ranking strategy that places the highest-scoring test takers in Band 1, virtually ensuring their promotion. Those with middle-of-the-road scores are placed in Band 2, where promotion becomes more subjective.
Because the pool of sergeants looking to become lieutenants is much smaller than the group hoping to move up to sergeant, says Moriguchi, a plurality of those who take the lieutenant’s test fall into Band 1. Since there typically aren’t enough open positions to accommodate everyone in Band 1, “The process is more political,” explains Moriguchi. “That said, the Sheriff has to have some prerogative in promoting upper managers such as captains and above.”
Brogan says he had done his absolute best to follow the approved path of job diversity, solid test scores and education, but found no luck. Perplexed at still being repeatedly overlooked, Brogan asked around to find out if there was something else he ought to be doing to get ahead. Eventually, a higher-ranking acquaintance in the department told him of an upcoming event—a fundraiser for Tanaka, then chief of the Administrative Services Division, who, in addition to his LASD post, was at the time running to be mayor of Gardena. Tanaka was a rising star in the department who, Brogan was told, would take care of those who took the time to show their faces and donate money.
Not just anyone could attend.
“You had to be asked,” says Brogan. “It was like the mafia.”
Brogan’s higher-up agreed to sponsor him, provided he donated to Tanaka’s campaign in advance.
“It was a last resort,” says Brogan. “What did I have to lose?”
So he wrote a check on the spot. A few days later, he showed up in the late afternoon at the Commerce Casino to cash in on his face time with Tanaka. Brogan was unprepared for what he saw. At 4 p.m. on a weekday, the casino was already packed with LASD personnel.
“The parking lot looked like [an LASD] patrol station,” Brogan remembers. “There must have been 50 to 60 county cars.”
The event was held in one of the casino’s private back rooms. Brogan says when he arrived, and throughout the event, James Hellmold and Eric Parra (both currently on the Sheriff’s Commander Management Task Force) were working the door, picking up checks from sponsors.
“There was a bar and everyone was drinking,” Brogan remembers. “Drink there with Tanaka and the boys and drive your county car home.”
Tanaka was at the center of the room, holding a cigar in one hand and a drink in the other. Virtually all in attendance were LASD personnel—mostly sergeants and lieutenants—nearly all brought in under the patronage of higher-ranking officers.
“Commanders and chiefs were required to bring at least five donors,” says Brogan. “Our sponsor brought five of us in to see Tanaka. He shook our hands, said ‘Thank you for your support,’ and then we went off to the different parts of the room and stood around with all the other people.
“It was about being seen.”
Brogan milled around for a while after his brief encounter with Tanaka, hoping his presence would be noticed and appreciated. Eventually, however, he left the gathering, revolted by his own behavior.
“I was sick over it. That night my wife told me, ‘Don’t you ever donate money again.’”
Brogan’s angst became even more powerful later when he realized he’d been duped, that his purpose at the fundraiser was not to advance his own cause but to augment the status of his “sponsor.” In the months and years that followed, he was never given preferential treatment in the department based on his donation: no promotion and no cushy transfer.
“They used other people like me, dummy, to come in and pay.”
FACE TIME AS COIN OF THE REALM
Brogan wasn’t the only person I spoke with who attended the gathering. Larry Landreth, then a sergeant at Internal Affairs, was also in attendance with his partner.
“We were both on Band 2 for lieutenant’s tests,” remembers Landreth. “Alex Yim was a friend of mine who told me: ‘You need to be seen, I’ll get you some face time. He needs to get to know you so you can get promoted.’ I’ve always liked Alex. He’d been good to me. And considering the political ramifications of being on Band 2, I went.”
Landreth says he and his partner arrived at the casino after work, when the party was already in full swing. Unlike Brogan, who wrote a check, Landreth paid $100 cash at the door to get in. “It was a small room and it was packed. I remember seeing [department members] Chris Nee and Christy Guyovitch there. Almost everybody was drinking.”
They eventually saw Yim, who had recently been promoted to commander. (He’s now the chief in charge of the Custody Division.)
Yim thanked them for coming and took the pair up to meet Tanaka, whose acquaintance Landreth had yet to make.
“There was some chitchat, and then he started in with the jokes. ‘Motherfuck IA [Internal Affairs]’ this and that.
“I was so upset, I left almost right after.”
Landreth did not get his promotion.
DOES $100 REALLY BUY A PROMOTION?
It’s been more than nine months since WitnessLA first published its investigation into LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, and how pay-to-play promotions based on donations to his Gardena mayoral campaign have not only undermined accountability and trust, they’ve had disastrous consequences in the LA County jail system and the Sheriff’s Department at large.
The response to the story from those still working in the department and recent retirees was overwhelming; the piece earned a wave of comments on our site from LASD personnel, along with private emails and telephone calls on the issue from those inside and close to the department. The story also prompted LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina to draft a proposal that would prevent county employees running for office from soliciting donations from their employees.
Following our reports, the blue ribbon Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence, appointed last year by the LA County Board of Supervisors in the wake of the county’s expanding jails scandal, also looked into the matter, analyzing 13 years of donations to Tanaka’s political campaigns and comparing them with recent promotional records.
In its recent final report, the commission found the following:
336 Department employees contributed to the Undersheriff’s campaigns over the past 13 years. The reports, which cover four elections, show that Department employees contributed a total of approximately $108,311 to the Undersheriff’s campaigns from 1998 to 2011. While the average contribution was only $187, some contributions were considerably larger. A subset of 43 Department employees contributed approximately $38,150 (or 35% of the total contributions from the Department).
Among current employees, six of the Department’s 11 division chiefs (or 54.5%) have contributed to the Undersheriff’s campaigns; 19 of the 31 area Commanders and assistant division (non-sworn) directors (or 61.3%) contributed to his campaigns; and 38 of the 76 Captains and directors (or 50%) contributed. In addition, several Department employees received reimbursements from the Undersheriff’s campaign funds for expenditures related to his campaign. For example, employees have been reimbursed for telephone bills, block party expenses and other, unspecified campaign expenditures. [See pp: 81-85, 87 of CCJV report]
As a consequence, the Commission recommended the Sheriff’s Department create a policy regarding “the acceptance of contributions from employees in the Department generally, or from employees whom the candidate supervises directly or indirectly.”
Despite the unseemly appearance of the data, the response from the Sheriff’s Department to allegations of pay-to-play has been complete denial.
“The undersheriff of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is not swayed by people who donate to his Gardena mayoral campaign or those who do not donate,” LASD spokesman Steve Whitmore told the Daily News. When WitnessLA spoke to him about the alleged practice, Whitmore again insisted it was a non-issue.
Indeed, we too were at a loss to explain how $100 was all it took to get ahead in the department. If paying to play was that cheap, why wasn’t the Tanaka donor list even longer?
Yet, after months of compiling stories from insiders and conducting our own analysis of campaign contributions and recent promotions, we became convinced that a pay-to-play system was, for many years, employed in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. But its execution, it appeared, was more complicated than simple donation patterns would suggest.
For instance, although Deputy Brogan was never rewarded for his face time and modest donation, his “sponsor” was, receiving a bump up the hierarchical ladder in the very next promotion cycle—as did several other “sponsors” who attended the event in Commerce.
So if there was a pay-to-play strategy, how did it work?
PROMOTIONS BY THE NUMBERS
Prior to the jail commission’s report, in early summer, we contracted a team of graduate students from UCLA’s Statistical Consulting Center to run our own analysis of the career advancements of LASD donors to Tanaka’s various Gardena political campaigns.
Since 2008, 316 deputies have been promoted to sergeant. Of that number, eight were Tanaka donors—only 2.53 percent. As you move higher up the ranks, however, those percentages of donors grow:
• 13 of 57 sergeants promoted to lieutenant—22.81 percent
• 14 out of 33 captains—42.42 percent
• 7 out of 16 commanders—43.75 percent
• Both chiefs promoted since 2008 and Assistant Sheriff Cecil Rhambo were also repeated donors.
Many of those promoted weren’t just donors. Like Alexander Yim and Brogan’s “sponsor,” a group of those on the favored list were actively fundraising for Tanaka.
It should be noted that promotions to sergeant and lieutenant are largely determined by a series of tests—although, as previously mentioned, Band 2 promotions can be far more subjective—while promotions to captain and above are considered “political.” There are no tests involved and decisions are made on personal relationships and recommendations.
The data seems to suggest that donations largely did not affect the promotions of sergeants and lieutenants—likely because the testing requirements would mostly prevent outsize influence by upper management on the promotional process. For captains and above, however, donations appear to have a clear impact on the “politics” of promotions.
Remember, only 336 LASD personnel have donated to Tanaka’s campaign since 1998—out of a department of nearly 18,000. Yet 24 of the past 52 upper-management positions filled, including the three most powerful, have gone to Tanaka donors.
That, however, still doesn’t explain the presence of so many lower-ranking LASD personnel on Tanaka’s donor rolls. Were they all duped like Brogan? Or was there some kind of reward for their patronage?
To find out, our team of graduate students ran what’s called a “logistical regression” on transfers to six marquee positions inside the department since 2008: Homicide, Gang Unit, Major Crimes, Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Parole Compliance Team, and Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB). Logical regressions are attempts to determine if you can predict the outcome of an event based on a limited number of variables. If you donate, are you more likely to be transferred to a high-profile assignment?
The answer was yes.
• Sergeants were more likely to be transferred to desirable posts if they donated on or before March 6, 2009 (significant at the 99% confidence level).
• Deputies were more likely to be transferred to desirable posts if they donated between May 26, 2008, and March 6, 2009 (significant, 99% confidence level).
In other words, deputies and sergeants, who couldn’t always be promoted straightforwardly because of poor test scores or lack of appropriate experience, were instead rewarded with transfers to high-profile assignments.
Interestingly, in the most recent round of promotions and transfers in May this year—made after our initial report on pay-to-play in the department roused the ire of the Board of Supervisors and the rank and file—empirical evidence of favoritism in promotions and transfers almost completely vanished.
THE “EXECUTIVE” SMOKING CLUB
A short while after the first part of our investigation into pay-to-play was published, we received an email containing an intriguing series of screenshots taken from an LASD computer. The shots depict an internal email list of about 100 LASD personnel, hosted on the department’s Exchange network, called “Executive Staff Mtg.” Interestingly, Sheriff Lee Baca’s name is nowhere to be seen.
“What kind of ‘executive’ list doesn’t include the Sheriff?” the source of these photos asked us rhetorically.
Instead, the list shows a hodgepodge of ranks from units across the department, from deputy up to Undersheriff Tanaka. The presence of such a list, openly displayed on the department’s server, is an anomaly in and of itself. According to sources, lists on the department’s Exchange email system are typically used so that particular units throughout the department—those who work together, but perhaps during different shifts—can communicate with one another easily. For instance, a patrol station or a jail might have its own email list.
Instead, virtually everyone on the “Executive Staff Mtg” list is a donor to Paul Tanaka’s Gardena campaigns. It includes names like Commander David Waters and Captain Bernice Abram, both of whom have come under investigation–for ordering LA County employees to do work on his personal motorcycle on the job, and participating in a national drug ring, respectively–as well Chris Nee and Wesley Sutton, Tanaka’s handpicked lieutenants whom he assigned to Men’s Central Jail in 2006 to purportedly clean up problems identified by then-captain John Clark. It was later discovered that Nee and Sutton neglected to complete a startling 52 use-of-force reports between them. As we’ve previously reported, when then-CJ operations lieutenant Casey Bald attempted to crack the whip on Nee to complete his paperwork, Nee demurred, allegedly saying: “I don’t work for John Clark, I work for Paul Tanaka.”
Immediately after we received, these photos we contacted a reliable source inside the department to see if “Executive Staff Mtg” appeared openly on the department’s server for all to see.
Indeed it did.
Less than 24 hours after we began calling around about the list, however, it was removed from the server.
The presence of such a donor list on the department’s server suggests that Tanaka’s Gardena campaign business was openly discussed on county time, using county resources. But, sources say, the list had a more menacing undertone: It indicates formal membership in Tanaka’s smoking club—a public reminder of who in the department had juice and shouldn’t be crossed.
The undersheriff’s smoking club, as we previously reported, is held in a tented and climate-controlled patio, complete with a refrigerator, sink, barbecue island, and elaborate cigar-smoking section, that was built in 2008 in Sheriff’s Headquarters in Monterey Park. The smoking patio, as it is known, has been reserved as an exclusive club for Tanaka and his campaign donors inside the department. To use the facility, sheriff’s deputies need a unique, sequentially numbered coin—known as a “challenge coin”— presented to the bearer by Tanaka himself.
“I would classify the patio as an executive meeting space,” LASD spokesman Captain Mike Parker told us at the time. “Can any member of the department hang out at the patio? No. But they wouldn’t have access to an executive meeting room either.”
Yes, but unlike a typical executive meeting room, which a corporation might provide as a procedural practicality or a managerial perk, the “Executive Staff Mtg” group with access to the smoking patio—many of whom were only deputies—was made up of those donors to Tanaka’s Gardena campaigns and other loyalists whom the undersheriff had handpicked for inclusion.
According to documents obtained in a California Public Records Request, the smoking patio cost county taxpayers $22,726.31 in building materials alone. The work to construct the patio and its continued maintenance is handled by LASD’s Facilities Services Bureau.
At the time the patio was being built, in January 2008, then-captain of Men’s Central Jail Robert Olmsted says he was begging facility services for workmen to fix a myriad of structural problems inside the jail.
“We needed plumbers and carpenters so bad it was incredible,” Olmsted told WitnessLA. “We had cells that were shut down because of toilets leaking. Fecal matter was leaking between floors. It was awful.”
Olmsted said his repeated requests for extra workers to fix these problems were denied. Eventually, Olmsted had to go to the ACLU to convince them to make a stink with the Board of Supervisors over the issue.
“I was eventually assigned me two extra plumbers, but that didn’t last long.”
While it is undeniably disturbing that the construction of a smoking patio was prioritized over the desperate need to repair a dangerous and decaying jail facility, the most disturbing part of the publicly displayed member list is the larger issue it points to: Namely the bravado with which pay-to-play, and allegiance to Paul Tanaka, was flaunted for years, unchallenged throughout the department.
PLUS ÇA CHANGE, PLUS C’EST LA MÊME CHOSE
Sheriff Baca has publicly said he plans to institute all 63 of the recommendations from the jail commission’s final report. Those recommendations include finding a new assistant sheriff with an expertise in custody to oversee the department’s troubled jails. They also include eliminating Undersheriff Tanaka’s influence over jail policy.
Not everyone buys the assurance that the undersheriff’s back-channel authority has magically disappeared. “If he’s still in the department, he will have control,” says Larry Landreth. “He has too many of his minions in place throughout the department and an informal system of communication.”
A case in point is Assistant Sheriff Cecil Rhambo, the third most powerful figure in the department, Tanaka’s former squad car partner and a donor to Tanaka’s campaigns since 1998. Rambo, who was promoted to his present position in June 2011, when Tanaka was appointed undersheriff, solicited his own donations from department personnel during his (failed) run for Mayor of Compton in 2005. With Baca out of town this week in Qatar, the task of implementing the jail commission’s reforms falls into Rhambo’s hands. But is it realistic to believe that, in the sheriff’s absence, he will curtail Tanaka’s influence as the commission specified?
Indeed, how does one untangle that web of influence in a department whose promotions and transfers were for years guided by allegiance to Paul Tanaka? How can the public be sure that those who benefitted from his patronage are up to the challenge of running the department ethically? More important, how do we know that, even if he is formally stripped of oversight into the jails, or even patrol, that Tanaka won’t overstep the chain of command to interfere—as he has done repeatedly throughout his career?
These are questions not easily answered, especially considering that Sheriff Baca has said that Tanaka’s handle on the department’s financial affairs is too important to relieve him of duty.
This story was funded in part by a generous grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
The story was copy edited by the very excellent Craig Gaines
* Lists of Tanaka campaign donors and promotions data, along with outcomes for those who did not donate, may be found on easy-to-read spreadsheets here
You are missing the other side of the pay-to-play coin…those who benefited because they donated to Baca’s campaigns. You’ve also not addressed people who funneled money or expensive gifts and favors to former U/S Waldie. Tanaka isn’t the only corrupt executive in lASD.
To Person of Interest – You are telling the truth. This system was established by the four men I mentioned before, Baca, Stonich, Waldie and Tanaka. There were fundraisers for Baca at his home that you had to be invited to attend and then donate to Friends of Lee Baca. The real players of pay to play is the executive email group Tanaka kept. Take a look at those people and see where they’re assigned and how many times they were promoted. Tanaka has people that owe him in key positions and in high places (rank). I guess the Sheriff will have to strip all of them from any supervisory authority as he did Tanaka (Sure, that will happen)…
This is extraordinary investigative journalism and needs a wider audience. Every L.A. County citizen must be made aware of this report and demand Paul Tanaka’s resignation from the LASD. How much longer will the corruption continue under Tanaka and Sheriff Baca?
I told everyone things are going to get worse! All this done on county time and the taxpayer picked up the tab! I too look forward to the Aero report. And yes Waldie made more money and received many more gifts that any other exec I ever knew! I recall a conversation I had with one of the chiefs whereby a certain deputy (Stonich) could not be promoted because he was under investigation. Was Stonich promoted after he gave the campaign contribution to Tanaka? Later, Waldie promoted the man anyway! Rest assured the end is in sight and kudos to Brogan (fictitious name) who came forward. Man, am I happy I didn’t go!
This is disturbing ! As far as Oyabun Tanaka, standing in the center of the room with a cigar and drink…….nice knowing you. hahaha dick !
This is why LAPD is so much more superior to the once revered LASD. We have become a joke, from reserves with felony backgrounds,Baca going to Qatar (oh yeah baby), to Tanaka, Cecil Rhambo and the other clicks who work maybe 3-4 hours a day in between their mega lunch runs.
Oh yeah, seems some unit commander moves may be in the works. Wonder how you can pull a cyclic from TST
Several people on your pay to promote list never attempted to promote. Several held positions in detective positions and tactical positions and have never left them, nor did they attempt to. Several people had already promoted and had no intention of promoting further. Several people listed as having promoted, never did. Several people paid and tried very hard to promote, but never did. You have a specific list that names people that have promoted after paying, but never did. Several of the SEB personnel had been there for years and never left. Several people from detective postions had been there for years and never left. COPS, Parole Cmpliance and the Gang Unit GET deputies are not even bonus pay positions. This information is not accurate.
Wow, we are not surprised at this, but still shocking when you actually read it. The once proud LASD just keeps getting hammered. Two weeks ago, the Sheriff stated we have the best jails in the Nation, and people come to see how we do things. Then he holds a press conference and falls on the sword accepting all of the problems the commission pointed out. So what does any great leader do? He leaves in a couple of days to go to Qatar for a conference. Really? Lee you just don’t get it. The Sherif does not have the courage, wisdom or common sense to axe Tanaka. Instead he essentially demotes him to a Division Chief but keeps the title of Undersheriff and hopes this blows over.
It did till yesterday. The LA Times ran an article on Tanaka’s secretary son who was hired by us in 2009. He is a criminal with a checkered past at best. I will tell you how bad it was, even Bagdad Bob Whitmore said he shouldn’t be hired. I wonder who will fall behind this? some poor background investigator, or a Lieutenant at personnel. Tanaka will not remember or won’t recall the incident I guarantee. We say there is an investigation. Along with several others on Tanaka. If this was any other employee, with multiple serious allegations, they would be assigned to home pending the outcome.
Somehow LA Times got ahold of the his background jacket. This is sad, but on the other hand is good as many more people are now speaking out in subversive ways to expose Tanaka and the many injustices that are or have occurred.
The best thing about all of this is seeing all of the Kool-Aide drinkers sick to their stomachs as they know the Fat lady has sung. Kudos to the Hellolds, Guyovichs and Nees who beat the system and rode Tanaka’s coat tails way above their experience level. But to all of the Lt’s in that car whose golden ring was so close now know they are done. Some are talented and will still progress, but now will be on merit like the rest of us.
I find these posts interesting. Since the CCJV Report, there has not been one post on here like the prior ones supporting Tanaka and how great he is etc. They have enough sense not to embarrass themselves anymore. They thought they could out post the silent majority. Tanaka’s power has been stripped, he can’t even pick his own Aide. There is a Lt out there who is really pissed off because he was promised a job he can now never achieve.
Thank you to all of LASD personnel who have stood up in the last 18 months to do the right thing. It has been a long battle but eventually the good guys win. Tanaka, if you truly care for the Sheriff as you say, and truly love LASD as you proclaim, do the honorable thing and retire. One thing you must remember too tall, if you are convicted of an on duty felony after January 1, the new law states you lose your retirement. Protect your family and take it now. We know you have Federal exposure from the jails. And only you know your exposure in Gardena over the last 13 years on council. Make it Merry Christmas for all of us.
PS: Wonder how poor Captain Brogan feels about WLA fake name in article. LMFAO.
This is SCARY and SAD. All these names on the lists, Aero Bureau/Narco Bureau drama and Custody Issues. The bottom line: greed, power and MONEY can lead a person in the wrong direction. I can’t wait to retire from an agency I was so proud to be a part of in the past. There is a big event tomorrow for Women in Law Enforcement; debating if I should even take my niece to this event who isn’t even 10 yrs old.
Audit clears sheriff’s air support division
By Christina Villacorte, Staff Writer
An audit released late Wednesday debunked allegations the Sheriff’s Department division in charge of air support and air rescue conspired with a private contractor to overbill taxpayers by millions of dollars.
Auditor Controller Wendy Watanabe said she examined Aero Bureau contracts to purchase 12 patrol helicopters in 2010 and three rescue helicopters in 2011, after former employees accused their supervisors of manipulating the deals.
“Our review did not identify any concerns with the selection processes for either of the helicopter acquisitions, or with the accompanying completion services,” Watanabe said in her report to the county Board of Supervisors.
The informants had also alleged Aero Bureau bought helicopter components from Carlsbad-based Hangar One Avionics Inc. that could have been purchased at a much lower cost from other buyers. They complained of favoritism, conflict of interest, lack of disclosure, and a waste of taxpayer money.
Watanabe, however, said the audit found all the purchases were justified and competitively priced.
“We did not substantiate any of the informants’ allegations,” she wrote.
Trained: Great post! And Kudos to WLA! I will add one correction. True that the past 18 months many good people have come forward to tell the truth. But, there have been many unsung heroes, as far back as 2002, who have testified and given statements to the concerned agencies. Most likely we will never know all of those who risked their lives and careers. My special thanks goes to Lieutenant Pat Gomez who risked it all and plodded forward after many years of awaiting justice in the courts. If Baca was smart I would pick Pat as the new Chief for Custody!
#8: A link to the LAT article http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-sheriff-hire-20121012,0,2126987.story
Be sure to view the reader commentary
I don’t know Tanaka and can’t really speak about all of the dirt being alleged, but I do know Sue Bissman is one of the kindest and hard working people you could know. I was starting to buy in to great concern for alleged management problems within the Sheriff’s organization, but leaking confidential background information to LA Times about someone like Sue and her family doesn’t set well with me. Only because it had to come within the organization. Makes me believe all of this is a sham and shows the character of those attempting to take down Baca and Tanaka at any cost and regardless of who else they defame. It really makes me wonder what is the motivation for all of this? (serious question not rhetorical).
Robert- Sue is a wonderful person and she has served the department and the public well.
Sadly this does not make anyone eligible to receive favor for those who would otherwise not receive it. She did nothing wrong. A leader within our department should of told her it was not possible based on the family members history. That has no reflection on her or what she has done. Anyone who attacks her for trying to help her family is an idiot. But on the same note, those who support her, should have told her the standards are standards and we cannot make exceptions in some cases. Those are leaders we need. Miss Bissman thank you for your years of dedication and service, may you enjoy your retirement that you have very much earned.
Oh and sadly, I would have to agree the information was probably leaked for someones personal gain at Miss Bissmans expense. Sadly these people don’t take that into account.
Those in the Ivory tower are having a bit of a war amongst themselves. If you think I am wrong go to the fourth floor, the air conditioning hasn’t been on for a week and you can hang meat up there it is so cold between the offices.
Your logic is questionable. “Regardless of who else they defame.” You talk about what a swell person Sue is. The article was about her son. She may be a saint, but that doesn’t meant a thing about her son. And it isn’t defamation if it’s true. Is there something in the article you are alleging isn’t true?
Then you refer to “those attempting to take down Baca and Tanaka” as if the individual who leaked the information must be the same as “those people.” I don’t see the connection, can you make it clearer? And are you asserting that all the testimony at the jail commission, the many supervisors’ statements about what occurred, and this most recent article and the factual allegations about a meeting where checks and cash were offered up with the understanding it would result in preferential treatment are untrue? Because someone leaked information from a personnel file? Again, how do you connect the two?
If this information is true, the reason it so concerning is it raises the question, did this guy get hired because he was related to someone close to Tanaka, when he otherwise wouldn’t have been? Because if that’s the case, you would agree that is wrong, wouldn’t you? That the rules should apply consistently to everyone, and disqualifying factors should be the same for everyone applying for a job with the Department, not different for someone because they are related to a particular individual. So to answer your “serious question”, I suspect the motivation for a lot of people in all of this is they want to see a level playing field. They want fairness. That help at all?
If someone shouldn’t have been hired, he/she shouldn’t have been hired – PERIOD. It took me a “long” time to get sworn and to see a LOT of pisspoor candidates with backgrounds ten times worse than mine get hired “right away” over the years does not sit well with me at all.
Many years ago, I was in a briefing where someone upper echelon came in to speak. They said the future of the department was a priority concern. Afterwards, being more naive back then, I summoned the courage to walk up and make a suggestion to this person. I respectfully stated, if we were concerned with the future of the department, that we should really focus on whom we were hiring and whom we were promoting. The reply given in a condescending tone was, “Don’t worry, it won’t be any tougher than it was for You to get hired.”
Tanaka, if you truly care for the Sheriff as you say, and truly love LASD as you proclaim, do the honorable thing and DO NOT retire.
Thank you for the service to this great organization. We know politics is ugly and some are trying to bring you down. When I say some, we mean SOME not the majority. There are two sides to each story and the truth will soon come out. FTF….
Robert: I’m sure you mean well but being naive is NOT a good trait for working cops. I agree Sue is a good person and I have known her for over thirty years. But, the information that was leaked was about her son. It is not confidential that Sue works for Tanaka. The boy has had over 100 DV incidents, prostitutes, drugs, theft. I think Sue already knows heartache enough. However, her ache lies with her son and no one else! We would be foolish and irresponsible not at least ask how can someone with this type of criminal past get hired? Neither you nor I would have been hired with far less issues in our hiring record and you know this! I know that Tanaka is fully capable to order this type of illegal violation of policy and the law. Ask yourself: would you hire this guy? Or how about dating a good friend or dear female family member? You wrote that you are serious so ask yourself if this guy was suitable for hire. When those who we entrust to protect us and abuse their authority(Tanaka, Baca and the rest of EPC) leaks are often expected as those who played by the rules lost and evil won. If the leak did not happen how would we find out about this fiasco? Do you think Baca or Tanaka would have had trouble with their conscience and maned up? I don’t think so! To date neither has shown any testicular fortitude.
Wow: Wantanabe once worked for the LASD. Tanaka encouraged her to quit and apply for the county agency where she still works. Why would Tanaka take such an interest in her? Why would he speak to her about the audit of Aero? She is NOT an investigator! The The Captain of Aero deliberately moved contracts toward certain vendors; why? As I have said; this whole mess has a long way to go! Someone bent the rules in both cases. Just imagine had everyone just had obeyed policy, especially Baca and Tanaka, would we all be in this mess Ollie!?
Well, that explains why Sue is retiring. I really don’t see why this is a big deal, considering all the special reserves the sheriff, tanaka and waldie hired. They have similar backgrounds and are insulated by their power of money, a badge and a gun.
Several years ago, Guyovich was a lieutenant in charge of Backgrounds and Too Tall Paul was her Chief. This was during the push to hire 2,000 deputies. A group of very experienced Background supervisors were routinely rejecting applicants due to disqualifying backgrounds. Guyovich told these supervisors to stop rejecting packages, they correctly refused. She reportedly overrode the Do Not Hire recommendations and then went to Tanaka and complained the sergeants, and others, were not team players and “making the Sheriff’s dream” of hiring 2,000 come true.
It was reported that Mrs. Guyovich was very close to “Paul” and knew reaching the 2,000 point would bring rewards her way. Whatever it takes, right? In true Tanaka fashion, he told Guyovich to fire the sergeants. I mean why would Tanaka want supervisors around who did their job by rejecting disqualified candidates? Guyovich walked into Backgrounds one Friday morning, gathered all the problematic people together and said, “You have till noon to find a home or I will find one for you.”
And now, several years later, we have a mess on our hands due to substandard hiring practices just as we have read in the latest Times story. Everything Tanaka has overseen in his career from his days as a patrol sergeant to today, where he has been reduced to a “play Undersheriff” has been a slow motion train wreck. Frankly, everything Tanaka has touched in his career from Sergeant and above, has turned to shit. Hey Guyovich, what do you see when you look into the mirror? What was your statement to the media after Olmsted testified about the other side of the story? Yep, we heard that when Tanaka spoke before the Jail Commission didn’t we.
And now you are a Commander, must be proud. Whatever it takes, eh. Oh by the way, the FBI is 914-N.
K. I’m a bit puzzled. Not by the article. It confirms what I’ve heard. What does baffle me is why my name is on the list. I never gave the U/S a dime. If my name is there, and I know I didn’t contribute, that sort of calls into question the validity of other names.
Baffled, we know of two other people who found there names on one of Paul Tanaka’s donations lists, but who swear—very convincingly— they never gave to any one of his campaigns. In both cases, they said they did however give the same $ amount listed on the Tanaka list, to the sheriff’s campaign.
As you likely know, we got the lists through public records act requests from the City of Gardena, so if there are names on the list who didn’t give to Tanaka, that is indeed perplexing. Did you, by any chance, give money to the Sheriff’s campaign any year?
We’d certainly be interested to know if you hear of anyone else who has had the same experience.
Baffled/Celeste. Like Baffled, I am on one of the lists. I am not on the donors list, but on the first list that reads “Donors and promotions”. I have not and never will donate to Baca or Tanaka.
No milk. If all these candidates were allowed to be hired against policy, wouldn’t you think those personnel sergeants would come forward, provide the list to POST and face another state audit?
It’s sad that the point of the Times story had to focus around Sue and her family. During 2009 to 2010 we hired a lot of people in the position of Sherriff’s Security Officer. The process was fast and sloppy due to the fact these individuals were going to replace the County Police at County facilities in June of 2010. Some of these people hired had been disqualified from the sworn process in other agencies, had similar backgrounds to Mr. Bissman’s, or a myriad of other problems. In Aug. 2010 one of these officers, while a guest at a wedding in Sun Valley got in a fight and killed a another individual with his dept. weapon, which he was not suppose to be carrying while off duty. Starting in Dec. of 2011 up until now some of these officers started becoming D.S.T.’s. Supervisors noted a few had behavior problems as S.O.’s and should not be promoted to the D.S.T. However, the dept. promoted them anyway. The blame should not be placed on the candidates, but those who made the decision to hire these individuals in the first place and continue to promote them. They should have been the focus of the Times article not Sue and her family.
C: Baca moved the money over to Tanaka’s campaign! Remember Paul is an accountant! As far as the hiring I often wondered who screwed the department and now we know it was SUE! Sue: you should be sued!! How these people can stand to look at themselves is a mystery. But, I guess it’s easy when you look at yourself only! I wonder how did someone like Sue get hired?? If these guys say they didn’t contribute then it would easy to produce a cancelled check;wouldn’t it!? As difficult as all this is, we’ll make it once we get rid ourselves of Baca and his Al Qaeda.
Baffled and Ke,
If you wouldn’t mind, please send me your information privately, and let me know what year you saw your names on the list. I’d like to look into all this further. Thanks. Have a great Saturday.
At FTF: I am sure those supervisors did turn in paperwork, but DOCUMENTS most likely disappeared. There have been sworn personnel files/training files, etc disappearing from many units OPERATIONS office in the past and just recently.
Do you really think higher ups want evidence? NO WAY. I sure hope all of you still have your hard copies at home, like we were all taught years ago after your first evaluation……IJS
All of this is making me sick. I once gave my heart and soul and would have gladly given my life to LASD. Now, I am so ashamed to say where I work, that I lie about what I do. I can’t wait to get away from this vile, corrupt organization. F… All of you that sold your souls and stole the rest of our legacies. I will be leaving soon and the only thing I get to take with me I can be proud of is that I never played the game. I don’t get to tell my kids and grand kids stories about how great it was to be a deputy like those before me. All I get to say is that i never sold out. So again, F… All you pricks and good luck with the grand jury!
I like Sue Bissman, she is a nice person. However, she has been around a long time, at a level working for Tanaka that few individuals have. She knew of her son’s personal history and also knew that his history disqualified him for a position in the department. Yet, she asked her boss and because he is all powerful, when personnel administration contacted him to give him the news, he over rode their decision. We all know that for sure. I don’t feel sorry for Sue, she went looking for it, she knew what she was asking.
C: I just checked that after the hiring fiasco the Academy had the largest cheating scandal in the history of the state. Remember? The Academy was closed down!! The dots are now making the picture complete!
You don’t even attempt to insinuate, you come right out and say these are lists of personnel who payed to play. Names on the list that didn’t donate, names who never tried to promote, names who already had to promote, but never attempted to promote higher and names on a list that you say promoted, but never did. Now you want to look into it further? Why would they want to share information privately with you now? What options are available to them having been accused in the press of something they didn’t do?
This gets more absurd by the day. It is one conspiracy after another. There were pages of posts about illegal Air Operation purchases and employee misconduct. Many of them alluded to a criminal investigation, an independent audit and all of the people that were going to jail or getting fired.
Now the Sheriff criminal investigation and D.A. investigation has been completed. The internal investigation has been completed, and the audit ordered through the Board of Supervisors has been made public. It states in part ” all the purchases were justified and competitively priced. We did not substantiate any of the informants’ allegations.” The criminal and internal investigation found no improprieties. No one disciplined. No one was prosecuted.
Yet immediately there is a post stating as a fact that Mike Griffin from Aero falsified his medical clearance and took unauthorized flight pay. Then another post says that Wendy Wantanabe, the head of the Auditor/Controllers Office, is corrupt and will do anything that Baca and Tanaka want done.
Do you really think if Mike Griffin medically shouldn’t have been flying or collecting fllight pay the four completed investigations would not have found that out? Do you really think the Board of Supervisors would allow Wendy Wantanabe to send them an audit that did not show all of the allegations and how she refuted them? Do you think the audit merely involved the Auditor/Controller calling the Board of Supervisors and telling them everything is okay?
I can’t tell you how the two criminal investigations or the Sheriff internal investigation were conducted. I can tell you about how a Board of Supervisor public audit is conducted. There are many checks and balances and everything is put in writing and an verified. Not even the head of the department can remove a comment from the audit. What you may not realize is, none of the vocal conspiracy crowd on the internet showed up to sign their real name, in person, in front of an investigator with evidence showing any wrong doing.
The next step is federal. Although you are the so called criminal experts and predict big indictments, I will go on record with following:
ZERO federal indictments on anyone other than someone at the officer level that beat an prisoner or a sergeant that watched an prisoner get beat. Both types of people should be prosecuted and sent to jail. No one above that level will be touched, just like the air operations investigation.
Once this gets announced, the posts will start about the ties between Baca, Tanaka and the President and how they got the President to squash the federal indictments. I have to admit you guys can sometimes be entertaining. That’s all. I am on to pension reform and increasing the education requirements for police officers. We took a small bite of the pension apple this year. Watch for Brown’s follow up next year, and hold onto your wallets.
All of you above keep saying “FBI 914N” and “Grand Jury.” What crime has any of the executives done? I’m not seeing it. Maybe I’m lost here so help me out. I just don’t see the Executives getting criminally indicted for the callous acts of deputies in the jails and off duty incidents. Secondly In just my humble opinion, the jails commission recommendations seem interesting but in all reality where is the BOS gonna come up with the money for these changes such as adding more supervisors in the jails, re creating custody division, the creation of a custody czar? Doesn’t seem realistic.
I remember when the LAPD had a Fedral Investigation during the Rampart scandal. Word had it that 100 plus officers and command staff from LAPD were going to get indicted. In the end, only 2 or 3 officers were actually convicted. One of them was Raphael Perez.
the aero audit did not come out “clean”. There were “irregularities” deemed small , guess we taxpayers only got ripped off a little and we should be happy about that. Goes to show how bad things have gotten in government when a couple thousand bucks ( in jackets buddy buddy no bid maintenance deals/ contract deals) is considered “clean”
At #36, Maybe so, but that was pretty BAD in itself.
You want to have a say in what I make and retire with? Step up and do the job for 20 years, THEN say something. Otherwise shut your pie hole and put your head back in the dark.
The vast majority of LEOs do a great job despite the lack of understanding, support, and recognition by the public (all sectors). On the other hand, the vast majority of the public has Never done anything constructive towards making our communities better and safer places to live.
The reasons why we’re speaking English right now and we haven’t all been jacked for everything we’ve got or our lives is because the military and law enforcement have made it safe(r) for us to go about living our every day lives.
You wanna complain about the jobs we do? Take a look at the Real statistics – how many contacts do we make on a yearly basis that do NOT involve complaints or use of force? How many arrests do we make on a yearly basis that do NOT involve complaints or uses of force? Then consider that a large percentage of those complaints are groundless and or fabricated. Add how many inmates do we supervise on a yearly basis that do not have Any “run ins” at all with our personnel. Then take those numbers and percentages and compare them with ANY large or fortune 500 company.
And leave my freaking pay and retirement the freak alone you selfish sons of a…
Let me throw two more curve balls at your narrow minded head.
1. Does less pay and benefits Attract or Repel job hunters? If two jobs have the same higher education requirements but one has substantially less pay and benefits, which one would more people choose? If that second job, the one with lower pay and lesser retirement benefits, also has the expectation that you confront danger and dangerous people, that you run a much larger risk of getting seriously hurt or killed, that you are more likely to get civilly sued or unfairly castigated in the media, is much more difficult on a marriage or family life or personal health, and is looked down upon by the same ignorant people you are helping (among many other factors) then…
2. Keep chastising and punishing the sheepdogs for doing their jobs; take away their ability to chase wolves and foxes; take away their ability to bite wolves and foxes; hit them on the their noses when they defend themselves against attacks by the wolves and foxes; allow the wolves and foxes to lie down with the sheep and chickens; treat the wolves and foxes the same or better than you do the sheepdogs; ad nauseam keep that up and try to picture what’s going to eventually happen. idiots
Investigative mind. The mindset that all records have been shreaded is absurd. When POST makes an appointment and says, “I want to look at x,y and z files, they are required to do so. If they say they can’t find them is not going to satisfy the State.
If these sergeants were rolled up by Trixy Christie, then they can supply names, dates, and case numbers.
If not then this allegation is pure bullshit.
LOOK AT WHAT WE’VE CREATED! NOW THE INMATES ARE ON STRIKE! HUH?
A mass hunger strike is underway among solitary confinement inmates at one California prison, while a second protest at another facility has stopped.
Corrections officials said they do not know why about 500 inmates started refusing food Wednesday, the same day a prison “end to hostilities” was called by inmate activists who had orchestrated last year’s mass hunger strikes.
The fasting began at opposite ends of the state. Several hundred inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison near the Oregon border refused meals from Wednesday through Friday, but began eating again Friday night, said Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. About 300 prisoners at California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi, north of Los Angeles, also began refusing meals Wednesday. About 200 of them continued to refuse food Saturday, Thornton said.
Those fasting are housed in Tehachapi’s high-security segregation unit which, along with Pelican Bay, is the subject of a class-action lawsuit alleging inhumane treatment and subjective policies for holding inmates in severe detention for decades. Conditions in the austere cells, where inmates spend 22 1/2 hours a day with limited options for exercise or rehabilitation, were the root of two much larger hunger strikes last year involving as many as 6,500 inmates. Prisoners this week so far have not aired their grievances or made demands, Thornton said.
The beginning of the current fast coincides with a ceasefire announced by inmate activists housed in segregation at Pelican Bay State Prison, dubbed the Short Corridor Collective. Their two-page treatise calls for “an end to more than 20-30 years of hostilities between our racial groups” while warning against efforts by prison officials to use inmate informants.
Prison officials regard the reference to race as a synonym for the race-based gangs active in California prisons, including the Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood and 415 KUMI.
Molly Poizig with Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity said Pelican Bay prison officials responded to the ceasefire by asking the 16 Short Corridor inmates whose names appear on the statement to acknowledge gang activity. She attributed the claim to a family member visiting one of those inmates last week.
@FTF: I didn’t say all files….thank goodness I saved all my paperwork, cuz some of mine disappeared and just recently..in past few years. Others have told me their paperwork have also disappeared, scary.
I don’t know anything about Personnel, because I never worked at that Unit. Someone who did work at that Unit under Guyovich obviously has some inside info. I just could not imagine working under such pressure like those supervisors who opposed some of these new hires and then were over ridden by higher ups.
Sucks – You want your pay and retirement left alone. Look at just this one page of posts and tell me why we should leave it alone. There are hundreds of pages of posts on the WLA web site, but just look at what is on this one page today from officers in the know:
– reserves with felony backgrounds
– Tanaka, Cecil Rhambo and the other clicks who work maybe 3-4 hours a day in between their mega lunch runs
– Auditor/Controller Wantanabe is corrupt
– Guyovich told these supervisors to stop rejecting packages
– fiasco at the Academy had the largest cheating scandal in the history of the state
– personnel files destroyed
– federal indictments are on the way
Why would we not reduce your pay and retirement? Do you think this is what you get paid for? And no I don’t blame Baca or Tanaka. You can’t corrupt honest people. Think about it.
Some of you don’t even realize this is a public web page. I have personally sent excerpts from this page to Governor Brown during this years’ pension reform process. It went a long way towards convincing him to cut your pensions.
@Public, you keep on mentioning an Academy cheating scandal. I could be wrong but the only recent cheating scandal took place at the RIO HONDO POLICE ACADEMY. That is not the LASD Academy………….
@ Public – gee don’t you just feel SO proud of yourself. You see one pimple on a nose and your solution is to cut off the entire nose. Wow, Genius!
All my other points just flew over your head, didn’t they? Well, don’t worry, between the sand around your head and your ivory tower, you probably won’t feel any negative effects of your actions/decisions for quite some time.
By the way, guess what? All the crap you listed frustrates the hell out of us FAR MORE than you. Without tooting my horn, I am damn good at what I do and I’ve probably done more GOOD for my communities and society than You Ever will. When you take money away from me, you are stealing from my wife and kids as well and THAT is unforgivable – especially coming from some clueless and worthless piece of work like you!
You’re on Ignore.
I’m done here. Y’all stay safe.
Can any bloggers on this site bring some substance regarding federal indictments? So many people here want to keep dropping The Feds name into this. I don’t see Feds indicting anybody. The department is cleaning house! Reforms are coming to the jails. Other than that all these other issues are just non-issues.
Unfortunatey, we did shut down our Academy in 2008 due to problems the state found. This was around the time the show The Academy was airing. The report about this incident can be read
Fed Up: Yup! That’s right and the cheating involved the entire Academy. Later, Roberta falsely stated that POST “over reacted” But, it now makes sense. If you hire folks that can barely read and/or write; the urge to cheat will be overwhelming. When you receive the edict to hire 2000 and rush them through what can we expect? The same as Dade County in Florida. If you read all these posts you can now see a pattern of corruption unlike anything we have seen before. Arco-Narco we let go 78 Deputies. And only one sergeant fell. I too agree that many higher ups may go unpunished for now. We need to stay strong and vote these A_holes out!
Public, I feel so honored that you have such a cozy relationship with the moron that dictates our loser state.
He could care less about LASD, since we aren’t part of calpers, calstrs or cal crap. The state pension is organized by big unions and that is why it’s going broke. Lacera is a model pension fund that will survive any weather.
Good to know you are updating the govenor. Lord knows he can[t figure it out on his own and needs a blog monitor to keep him in the know…LOL
Time to take “Public” and “Lakerman” to school. To quote Public: “And no I don’t blame Baca or Tanaka. You can’t corrupt honest people. Think about it.” Your kidding, right? The most endearing qualities of these two buffoons oscillates between corrupt and incompetent, something well known by most members of this department who don’t drink Koolaid. This was affirmed by the findings of the CCJV.
Public, all the drivel you posted regarding no indictments will be handed out to anybody but a deputy, you speak as if you are the deciding party. Not only can you predict the future, you seem to be all-knowing and omni-present. Personally, I think you’re full of shit.
Lakerman, you claim that the department is cleaning house. That tells me you are a member of the cigar coin club. Cleaning house will begin the day Tanaka is fired and Baca is forced out of office. Then we will show the door to all the cigar coin crowd as well. THEN, and only then, will the department clean house. The cancer of corruption begins and ends with the Baca administration, and it must end in order for the Department to recover and regain its reputation both within the community and the criminal justice system.
“The reasons why we’re speaking English right now and we haven’t all been jacked for everything we’ve got or our lives is because the military and law enforcement have made it safe(r) for us to go about living our every day lives.”
Thank you LASD for protecting me from the foreign language invasion……Hablamos Espanol
Frank: Good that you need to vent but do you have any comment on all the corruption and having a 99% chance of making it to SEB or other higher touted units just because you gave money to Tanaka or Baca? Please take time to read the article carefully and ask yourself; Is this the right thing to do? Stay on point;you are a good man!
C: I forgot to add that after looking at the list (I know most of these guys) 90% have tattoos on their leg. What coincidence; right??!! LOL
Just got hired on as a deputy assigned to men’s central and all I know is most deputy’s from San Dimas to Altadena to Malibu all the way to the west side say that tanaka has been the best undersheriff the departments ever had! I’m 24 an have a long career ahead of me but with or with out them I joined this department for there legacy of being hard asses an tough on crime I applaud tanaka for makin this department financially stable his only mistake is telling people to work the gray you don’t say that it’s a thing u do when you make the desicion to put your career on the line to teach a criminal you don’t ffuck with the people of la county!!!!!!
@57, Please check your spelling,grammar and geography. Gosh, I feel more sympathy for Captain Ornelas even more after reading your comments. I guess nothing should surprise me these days.
57: Thanks for making our point re the type of people that we are hiring!! How in the Hell did you get through the Academy? Did you know Baca? Make sure that someone that has more than a GED looks over your reports. I need to also call Ornelas in the morning! What gang did you belong to?
I have not been thrilled with some of the recruits coming out of the Academy over this last year. #57 is a good example. Let’s hope we take the C.C.J.V.’s advice and starts making the probation period mean something and eliminating some of the dead weight that got through background and the Academy.
Regarding Post# 57. On so many levels, that’s the scariest post I’ve read so far.
Wow, #57 is obviously another required quota the department hired. Jesus Christ what a waste of oxygen.
To #57. You are correct. Paul Tanaka is a great man!! As you know, politics is ugly and some are trying to make him a scape goat. The truth will come out soon.
I agree 57’s post is disturbing. The name alone “gunman.” You are entitled to your opinion, but your post reads like a gang member. I don’t think when your D.I.’s , T.O.’ s , and Captain Ornelas see this their going to be happy with you trainee.
LATBG, I want your input as to how you think supervisors to executives will be indicted. I’m not a “cigar coin member” but rather just a dep who has been pushing a radio car. I probably will always be a dep and probably retire as a DB detective or just a senior in the jails. Who knows? My priority has been my family and working a schedule that benefits them. I have been following these posts for a bit and just asked for some input because I am really not understanding some of the comments. Anybody can read the LA times,LA Daily News, listen to KNX or watch local news and observe what is happening with Dept and come away with that knowing that Deps who break the law will be terminated. As far as the execs being indicted for these foolish Deps ways, how are they to be criminally indicted? That’s all I was asking.
A separate investigation is needed just to focus on how the County’s Band system of promotional practices which is one of the most bias and discriminatory civil service systems around- manipulated by a handful of County Departments and their individual management hierarchies – including the CEO’s Office. You can have a group of racial color managers or a “good-old-boy” system of county department managers – who are allowed to select anyone of their personal likings which typically revolves around personal friendships, favoritism, nepotism, or strictly on a sexual relationships. That’s how a County employee can be your office clerk today and your boss tomorrow. There is one county department that is notorious for this type of abuse of selected bias promotions, based on favoritism and reverse racism, which surprisely had a high level manager last month, a self proclaimed minister and an ex-member of the California Legislative Black Caucus, get arrested for fraud. This idiot was making 100k plus salary, had served as an assemblyman representive of California, and also as a county field-rep under County Supervisor Yvonne Burke. Someone should put the mic in front of Mark Ridley-Thomas – ask him how does it feel having a co-member of the California Black Caucus arrested? Hmmmm….I wonder how he got his job?
#57 was 390 at 0304 and feeling some passion. Or it was FTF killing another bottle of Merlot on his 25th bolg name. Why do you create multiple blog names to argue and agree with yourself? You were already put in check by C and called out.
Celeste, would you like to verify post 67 that I am not mister pistolero the puto in post 57
Fellas, it’s rather obvious #57 is a bogus entry. Nothing more than a Cigar Club member posing as a boot. Don’t give it a second thought. He’s on the patio as we speak, buffing Tanaka’s shoes. “Hey boss, hehe hehe I got ’em real good boss, hehe hehe, I tricked ’em with a comment, hehe hehe.”
Tanaka takes a slow drag from his provocative shaped cigar and blows smoke rings into the face of the coin holder who by now is just finishing his morning buff job. “Hey boss, hehe hehe, you do that real well, how you do that, boss?” As Tanaka gets up, he grinds the red hot stogie into the coin holder’s forehead and says, “Lots of practice while getting lots of shoe shines from losers like you.”
But, most of us agree that #57 is a typical graduate of the Academy! Newguy and #57 maybe the same guy but, the fact still remains; we have hired a lot of slugs!!
Honestly I think everyone talkin smack about my post have never been in law enforcement we are peace officers not gang members other then some weed here an there I’ve never so much as Kay walked I’m just giving the opinion of a fresh out of the acadamey deputy an I went to cal poly Pomona grew up in West Covina all my life thank you very much.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Nope. Pistolero is not FTF.
Just cuz I’m not white makes me a slug man I really hope when I get to patrol that I get to have be in your region:) tanka has been reduced to sitting in his office all day no even showing his face due to all this slander I’m told. The funny thing is all you retiries an so called law enforcement critics is that no matter of baca an tanaka I will still be a deputy sheriff like my father, sister, aunt and uncle have served.
Jay walked. Typing on an iPhone is more difficult then it looks.
“Jay walked.” Okay, I feel better now. (Auto correct on iPhones is a little more helpful at times than we might like.) I thought for a minute we were looking at a new iteration of the famous C-walk.
I’m extremely relieved. 😉
It disgusts me that “Brogan” was willing to sell his sole for a measly $100. I would venture to guess, that had he been promoted, he would not have contacted Witness LA. If you attended any gathering, donated any money, or kissed anyone’s butt with the INTENT of getting promoted, you should be ashamed of yourself. Even worse, if you turn informant because you didn’t get promoted, you are a piece of crap.
I never attended any department function with the intent of bettering my career. I worked in region 2 for over 10 years by choice. I worked there because I wanted to learn as much as I could, to become a better policeman. I worked hard along with some of the best policemen in the world. I never expected anything in return!
As a result of my hard work, I have had the opportunity to work several specialized units. Again, I worked hard and was able to promote on my own merit. Never smoked a cigar with anyone above the rank of Sgt, I don’t golf, and never kissed anyone’s butt. I can look at myself in the mirror and know that I am doing what I signed up to do, help those that can’t help themselves, and take bad guys to jail.
I am still proud to be a Deputy Sheriff, because the majority of Deputies are still working hard and doing a job that not a lot of people want to do, or are capable of doing!!!
Either 57 is doing a parody on recent hires, or he’s an example of them. I tend to agree with No Milk Today. It’s bogus. If not, LASD is in worse shape than previously thought. If so we have the CA public school system to thank.
iPhone auto-correct or not, there is a lot of GED-level writing on this blog. Maybe if more people sat down and composed their posts, versus firing off missives on the go, we’d have a more substantive discussion. Though, there doesn’t seem to be much that hasn’t already been said on this topic until some new news breaks or there are updates on the department’s implementations of the recommendations.
Pistol: For a guy like you English is harder than it looks! Thanks for the comedic relief!
Lakerman, you put a thoughtful question forward that deserves a thoughtful answer. The CCJV was only put together to examine the jail issue, but many of the problems that were brought forth run far deeper as you well know. Without tipping my hand there are many issues being addressed, one being the federal grand jury now collecting evidence. That was the manner in which Sheriff Corona was indicted and ultimately convicted.
The corruption of Baca and Tanaka makes Carona’s case look like child’s play, not only in depth but in scope as well. Carona sought to benefit himself and a handful of cronies, but there were no allegations of systemic corruption as in the case before us. The dynamic duo shook down their employees for over a quarter of a million dollars in campaign contributions, which is illegal based on state and local law. Among those contributions alone there are many straw donors, and other illegal donors (foreign sources) that are related to contracts between individuals/businesses and department operations – this is felony material.
We have heard allegations of crimes not being investigated and/or reported, search warrant info leaked in advance to tip off suspects, associations with organized crime members, you name it.
Add to the list all the cheating scandals, both at the Academy and the greater scandals involving the sergeant’s and lieutenant’s gamed examinations, and you have the potential of a threat to the integrity of the criminal justice system as a whole.
In short, all the negative attention directed towards the Department is unfortunately warranted and we will suffer the consequences for failing to act sooner. Too many koolaid drinkers just looked at their fancy jobs, shiny cars, and bigger paychecks, and never gave a second thought about where this would all end. They enabled all the corruption and now it’s time to pay the piper.
The upcoming elections in 2014 will provide us the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start all over, armed with a renewed sense of purpose and something sorely missing with the current crowd: humility.
On a serious note, some people here were asking how the grand jury works and what possible criminal charges could come from potential indictments. For starters, the grand jury is nothing like the system local cops are accustomed to. The Feds don’t typically go out and make “obs” arrests. They will probe an allegation and run it by an AUSA. The AUSA will determine if it is fit for the grand jury to investigate. The grand jury has subpoena power the allows the Feds to start gathering evidence without search warrants and will compell witnesses to testify. All of this is secret and protected by the “6e rule”. Once this process begins, things begin to snowball as people start rolling on each other and new evidence and new issues are revealed. Once the investigation is complete, the grand jury then decides on whether or not to indict and on what charges. It is a slow and meticulous process.
As far as LASD brass, all we really know is that the first wave of grand jury subpoenas has gone out. That’s a fact. We don’t know and can’t know what evidence the Feds have already, because it is secret. Based on what we have heard from the jail commission, we can assume that the Feds are first looking at civil rights violations against inmates that were beaten. On a case by case basis, some or most of that force was probably justified and within policy. The problem is, it is well documented that the MCJ captain at that time did not adjudicate those force packets in a timely manner, some of which should have gone to IAB for further review. Why this is such a huge problem is that the inmates were denied their due process that LASD policy and the law demands. Denial of due process is a civil rights violation and a potential federal charge. Remember what happened in the Rodney King case to the LAPD officers. They beat the state case for excessive force, but lost the federal civil rights case.
What the grand jury appears to be looking at is how the beatings and denial of inmate’s civil rights extended beyond the MCJ captain, who appears to have dropped the ball. They seem to be developing a theory that the US encouraged this type of activity, created and fostered a subculture within LASD that condoned it and allowed it to persist. The Feds might call that a conspiracy. If and when the US takes the stand before the grand jury, if he testifies the way he did at the commission, he could be charged with obstruction of justice or contempt or court. If he takes the 5th, the grand jury views that as consciousness of guilt. If he lies to federal agents, he can be charged with a federal crime as well.
This is only the beginning of the grand jury investigation and time will tell who gets indicted, if anyone at all. For now, it is all rumor and speculation.
#65: “As far as the execs being indicted for these foolish deps ways, how are they to be criminally indicted?”
The principle involved here is the military notion of “Command Responsibility”–it can be Googled (same search words) so I won’t go a long definition here. You have seen it in action when a Naval vessel runs aground or crashes into another vessel at sea. The ship’s Captain is relieved of command even though he was sound asleep in his bunk at the time of the incident and nowhere near the ship’s controls. The idea is that he is responsible for the training & discipline of his crew, and if the crew falls short it is the Captain’s fault.
In W.W. 11 we lost our first battle to the Germans at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass in North Africa–this, too, can be Googled–basically because our troops were not dug in (they were above ground) when the German tanks & artillery barrages came. A new General, George S. Patton, came in & that was the last battle we ever lost to the Germans.
The point here is that he previous General was held accountable for our first loss of the war to the Germans. He was sent back to the States to direct training operations.
As far as criminal indictments go I believe we are more apt to see something like the Consent Decrees just experienced by the LAPD or currently being experienced by the Oakland P.D. Local Federal judges have accumulated lots of experience implementing Consent decrees, so the local Federal Court can hit the ground running, so to speak.
I bet a month of my county pay that they won’t indict anyone. All you shit talkers probly are fed up with your miserable positions with in the Lasd or got speeding tickets by a deputy. Fact is don’t do anything wrong an follow the law an you wont have to worry about any body cracking your skull in county jail. We are a police force not a Girl Scout troop dirty shit is bound to happen and it’s fucked up but the whole world is like that an eventually justice is done! The justice system nor any police force is perfect but in the end the good guys always win. I’m with #67 I’m proud to be a deputy sheriff an when I finally get out on to patrol you speeders can talk shit all you want to me il give you a piece of my mind for sure
Let’s hope the B.O.S. follows what they said today.
Pistolero is as far from the deputy position as I am having an affair with Baca’s ex-wife. He is purely sensational for the blog and is of no concern. Of course, the way he writes and spells validates he is definitely a “mo”.
#86: If not, this is what the L.A.P.D.’s Consent Decree was all about, and I think the B.O.S. is working feverishly to avert something similar
Pistlero…. you young man will probably never see the likes of a patrol car. You probably be fired long before your custody time is over (I hear the going rate for male deputies is to ten years). You will probably be locked down in cell 40 or the desk outside the Watch Sergeant’s office. While you are waiting to go to patrol, take some english classes, better yet get a bachelor’s degree, and find a new career. You will not survive long or never leave custody to be a “real” deputy with that attitude. Tanaka may need a bunk buddy soon, I will submit your name….
I suspect there will be an attempt to indict several deputies for criminal civil right violations, as #82 very eloquently and correctly spelled out. But I am led to believe that what the Feds and AUSA will attempt to show to a Grand Jury is there has been a long and substantial “pattern” of excessive force incidents. For the sake of the conversation, lets take off the table all of the truly justified force incidents and lets focus on, hypothetically, incidents of abuse.
In this hypothetical, I think the Feds are looking for, and may find, not only a pattern of some abuse but more importantly, “evidence” of supervisory and management culpability, Deliberate Indifference. In other words, supervisors (Sergeants) who “investigated” force incidents and managers (lieutenants) who “approved” force reports that, for the sake of the hypothetical, knew or should have known, certain deputies were involved in a pattern of questionable force incidents. If the Feds can prove sergeants and lieutenants were giving the Okie Doke and inadequately investigated these questionable force incidents, then there is where the AUSA will attempt to build her case not only against deputies who, again hypothetically, used unnecessary and significant force and shoddy investigation and review by sergeants and lieutenants.
Here is the rub against Captain Cruz. If the Feds can prove he was aware of a pattern of unnecessary force and did nothing to control it, he may have a serious problem. We have heard a great deal of testimony by witnesses in front of the Commission, of hidden force reports, reports that were deemed as Necessary and Justified Force, when in fact it wasn’t, We heard Captain Bornman talk about all of those force packages that were hidden and signed off by Captain Cruz as within policy, when in fact, they were not. That is where the AUSA will have to decide, if she has sufficient evidence. Then, throw in Tanaka’s statements by Sergeant Schultz, “I knew nothing and no one told me anything.” contrary to Olmsted’s testimony AND others, and this grim fairy tale is all over the board. And then of course, the AUSA has the Bonus Round, “The Gray Zone.” They should all be quite nervous.
A lot of people have received Federal Grand Jury subpoenas, and a lot more will be involved in the AUSA’s next round as well. But this has all the potential to get ugly, real ugly.
The Doctrine of Proximate Cause. Negligent Supervision, Training, Assignment and Retention
LATBG, OGRE and MILK thanks for the responses. All of you put forth some thinking points. I personally think that mostly Deputies will burn on this as they should if they are guilty of stupid crap. I think the biggest problem is the lack of sergeants in this Department. You have a lot of cliqued up deputies not only in the jails but at several stations acting like gangsters. A guy like “Pistolero” is really the new age deputy. There are deputies like Pistolero looking for a clique and a tattoo more than they are looking to honor the badge. The jails and especially patrol are full of cliques. It’s a freaking shame but in my humble opinion, these cliques hate the other clique more than they do the bad guys on the street. Modern patrol is full of twenty something idiots, with no life experience, no family or kids that put their cliques ideology above everything else. Believe it or not, this causes tan and green Deps fighting with other tan and green Deps. So here you have it, a complete gangster mentality in the ranks . The solution is to rotate deputies assignments and add more supervision. More sergeants NOW! Hold those Sgts accountable on calls for service,uses of force in jail and monitoring workplace violence! This crap Is gonna happen in patrol also if nothing is done. The money spent on supervision will prevent money spent on lawsuit settlements.
#92, Very well written. I agree with you; some hold their cliques over the meaning and purpose of representing the badge. I thank God every day I served in the military and was hired by the department in my late 20’s.
It is sad that it is coming to this. LAPD officers have to run everything by a sergeant, whereas deputies have always prided themselves in having the ability to make their own decisions and solve problems independently. Even if we put more sergeants out there to babysit the knuckle head deputies, the time will come when we have to promote them also. Then what?
IMHO, we are discouraging quality applicants from applying because there is rarely anything positive being reported by the media or Internet lately about LASD. Many veteran LASD members are disenchanted and no longer recruit quality applicants as well. Young people who are considering applying see stuff on this blog and the LAT articles. They see police officers being persecuted and prosecuted across the nation every time a use of force is caught on video. In the eyes of the media, any use of force is excessive, even pepper spray. Intelligent young people will hesitate to apply for a job with a department that has the perception of being corrupt, having poor morale, a promotional process based on loyalty and nepotism over merit, the possibility of getting prosecuted and sued for using force, etc.. They are most likely going to join the fire department, military or a smaller agency that pays better and has their act together. As a result, we end up hiring “Pistoleros”, who BTW, I really hope is a troll. If so, he or she is damn funny. If not, God help us all.
84, You make me sick, pricks like you are no better than the little “homies” your paid to either beat up or buddy up with. You’re a disgrace on so many levels. Won’t be long before you do some real dumb shit and we read about you here in the future. I’ll make it to patrol before you. Fool.
[…] Continuing a lengthy investigation by WitnessLA.com, reporter Matthew Fleischer finds additional evidence that appears to support claims that Undersheriff Paul Tanaka demanded officers in his department round up political donors. Read his report HERE. […]
[…] jails, accusations of favors doled out to the sheriff’s friends and donors, a possible quid pro quo system of promotions run by the undersheriff, a rash of deputy gangs, some of whose members may or may not engage in […]
[…] that all the things began to add up for the sheriff,” said one source. “The talk of pay-to-play, the cigar club, the whole thing of working the grey, the way the federal investigations were […]
[…] (See reports on alleged pay-to-play here, here and here.) […]
[…] Story: Last September, the Coeur d’Alene press questioned Robert “Bob” Norris, Candidate for Kootenai County Sheriff, about a $600 donation to Paul Tanaka. Paul Tanaka, now a convicted felon in prison for conspiracy and obstruction, was the Los Angeles County Undersheriff. Tanaka, a Democrat, also served as the Mayor for the City of Gardena. Norris’ $600 donation was called into question because there was a well-known pay to play scandal within the LA Sheriff’s Department; that story can be read here. […]