Disciplining LA Deputies

by TChris

In the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, incompetence is not viewed as justification for significant disclipline of employees -- even when the incompetence leads to dead inmates in the jail.

Los Angeles County sheriff's employees whose actions contributed to the deaths of five county jail inmates have received punishment ranging from a written reprimand to a 15-day suspension, according to a report released Monday.

The Office of Independent Review says the deputies were merely negligent, not malicious. Small comfort to the dead inmates.

The Sheriff says he's opposed to "symbolic harshness." If only the same philosophy applied at sentencing hearings in the criminal justice system.

The OIR also reports that deputies are being arrested for drunk driving more frequently than last year, and that they're involved in more shootings.

Other findings in Monday's reports include:

• Deputies were involved in 46 shootings from January to August, the same amount that occurred in all of 2003. So far this year, 12 deputies have been disciplined regarding the tactics they used in those shootings.

• Deputies were involved in six DUI-related collisions during the first six months of this year -- double the amount experienced by the department in all of 2003.

• Deputies were found in some cases to have failed to keep intoxicated people from harm, with three incidents resulting in deaths.

• A captain sent the "wrong message" about misconduct by allowing his deputies to hold a fund-raising barbecue to help a colleague compensate for salary lost due to a suspension.

< CA Judge Faces Discipline | Minor Drug Dealer Gets 55 Years - Judge Urges Appeal and Clemency >
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