L.A. Sheriff Deputies Competed to Make the Most Arrests

A sickening story out of Los Angeles.

A suburban sheriff’s station has had deputies vying to book the most people and impound the most vehicles, and the Los Angeles County sheriff said Thursday that he had ended the competitions.

Results from the competitions, called Operation Any Booking and Operation Vehicle Impound, had been posted on a wall in the Lakewood station. Two hundred deputies are based in Lakewood, which is the local police force for 120,000 residents in five cities southeast of Los Angeles, Artesia, Bellflower, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood and Paramount.

L.A. Sheriff Baca says there will be no repercussions.

“They’re not acceptable,” he said. “They’re not appropriate. But no harm, no foul. The only disciplinary action I’ve taken is saying to the lieutenant who organized them, ‘Hey, knock this’” off.

Let's see if the courts agree when the lawyers for those busted during the period of the competition start challenging the arrests in court.

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    Sheriff Deputies Compete For Arrest Figures (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Anonymous 1 on Sat Oct 06, 2007 at 12:08:38 AM EST
    Here is the problem with police competing to see who can impound the most vehicles.  You drive through a sheriff check point on a Friday evening after work.  They stop you and everyone else traveling on the street.  They pull you over and say your "temporary" license (given to you by the DMV while you wait for the permanent License to be mailed)is not valid.  They ask you to get out of the car and give them your keys.  You initially refuse and then turn the keys over to avoid a "beat down".  They strip search your car and of course they don't find anything because you are not a criminal.  They refuse to listen to anything you say and just take your car.

    You then are forced to call someone who can come and pick you up because you are left on the street.  You miss work on Monday to straighten this #@$^ out.  You go to the DMV (who can't understand what the problem is with the temporary license).  You go to the police station and then the storage place where they towed your car (of course they towed it to a city other than the one you live in and where the impound took place on Friday.  Also, you're riding around with someone else, tying up their time, and using up their gas.  At the end of the day (and you do spend all day to resolve it), you spend over $400 to get your car back, miss a day of work (for which you don't get paid).  You are pissed. But what are you supposed to do? If this contest is about fun and games, I'm not laughing.  

    A real knee slapper..... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 07:55:40 AM EST
    Kidnapping always cracks me up.  Good one guys, keep up the good tyrannical work.

    making arrests (none / 0) (#2)
    by diogenes on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 08:24:00 AM EST
    For all we know, before the contest people who should have been arrested weren't (because arrests lead to paperwork which is a big pain in the butt for a lazy officer), and these were proper arrests.
    The lawyers will have to challenge the cases based on the merits of each case, not based on whether they were the result of some contest.
    If a self-motivated cop made the same number of arrests without a contest, would you care then?  

    Arrests... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 08:49:25 AM EST
    lead to paperwork which leads to overtime.  I've yet to meet a cop who didn't love him some time and a half.

    Not always. (none / 0) (#7)
    by Patrick on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 10:43:04 AM EST
    Only if the person arrested can't bail out.  But, yeah, I like the time and half.  Of course like everyone I know, a couple of hours of OT isn't worth losing your job or credibility over.  

    Who doesn't? (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 10:51:02 AM EST
    I never pass up time and a half either brother.  When I get it, nobodys freedom is at stake.

    I'm sure you'd agree police shouldn't be encouraged to make arrests for the sake of making arrests or to inflate numbers.  Somebodys freedom is at stake...its no joke.


    I'd agree that (none / 0) (#20)
    by Patrick on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 03:01:31 PM EST
    law enforcement should enforce the laws.  If that means someone goes to jail, then that's what it means.  How they choose to motivate their personnel to do it is their business.  The Sheriff is an elected official, if his policies are bad they can get a new one in 4 years or less.  

    Credibility? (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 11:22:31 AM EST
    That is a laugh. Arrogance and a gun, although quite predictable,  is a bad combination that most police display. When the police start acting as if they are for others over themselves they will start to gain credibility.

    Perspective..... (1.00 / 0) (#21)
    by Patrick on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 03:02:44 PM EST
    Some people will never find what they are looking for.  Not because it isn't there, but because they don't want to see it.  

    True (none / 0) (#33)
    by squeaky on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 04:36:34 PM EST
    We all are blind to some extent. In poor neighborhoods and even middle class ethnic neighborhoods people usually do not call the police when there is trouble. In rich neighborhoods the people call the cops when they see their own shadow.

    Why is that?  For me that speaks volumes about police credibility.


    Looks like the possibility of OT was not (none / 0) (#10)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 11:16:23 AM EST
    the reason for the contests. In fact, it looks like unwanted OT caused the morale slump that the contests were supposed to offset...
    "It's just a friendly competition to have a little fun out here," Tatreau said. It was Tatreau who sent the e-mail about the booking contest Aug. 15. Tatreau said he viewed the games, which began in July, as a morale booster for overworked deputies who, because of staffing shortages, are required to work four overtime shifts a month.

    Have a little fun..... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 11:47:40 AM EST
    It's all a game I guess.

    First time I've heard of overtime being unwanted...they must pay better out in Cali.  


    Dunno, 4 extra shifts/month = 6 day weeks, (none / 0) (#14)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 12:02:01 PM EST
    every week, month after month after month.

    Not everyone is as gung ho a worker bee as you and me. ;-)


    I'd be cruising my squad car.... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 12:50:47 PM EST
    all the way to the bank baby:)  

    Why didn't they play a "cut 'em a break" game when they got disgruntled?  Seems to me that would be a better way to piss off management.  

    I'm having trouble buying the "disgruntled about overtime" excuse.


    Wll, there is this: (none / 0) (#16)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 01:20:33 PM EST
    Like every station, Tatreau said, there are "good, hardworking deputies and there are the lazy guys." He said he was trying to encourage the less motivated deputies to get more involved in proactive police work.
    I work 6 days almost every week, but then I own the co so that's the choice I made. Very few poeple that I'm aware of are happy when an extra day is mandated by mgt to make their 5 day workweek 6 day - week after week after week. Something about having a life, iirc.

    I find the opposite.... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 01:41:36 PM EST
    but then again most of my friends can always use extra cash more than leisure time.  

    As for lazy cops...that's my preference:)


    Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department; (none / 0) (#18)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 01:59:10 PM EST

    Starting salary: $3714 - $4136 a month + Benefits
    Special consideration for Active military.
    Please call for details.

    Call 1-800-A-DEPUTY for more information.
    or visit us on the web at www.lasd.org

    I think they don't want the OT pay because it'll make their kids ineligable for S-CHIP if congress overrides Bush's veto. ;-)

    That's a pretty (none / 0) (#23)
    by Patrick on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 03:05:54 PM EST
    tough pay scale for So Cal.  I hope the benefits add up, otherwise they'll have a long wait for help on the streets

    I was gonna say.... (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 03:15:14 PM EST
    that ain't too bad, 44.5k a year to start.  

    NYPD rookies make under 30k.


    Actually, (none / 0) (#29)
    by Patrick on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 03:47:07 PM EST
    That's the salary range from bottom to top.  And that top step is about 2K less than what I make at a Nor Cal S.O. PER MONTH.   YIKES!  

    Rumor has it many of our Deputies live (none / 0) (#25)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 03:19:58 PM EST
    well outside the LA area, often the Inland Empire where the cost of living is much lower. So they say. Hell, my neighbor's a LA City Fire Chief and he has guys commuting from Vegas to work in his station. Of course they work 4 days straight or something...

    I too (none / 0) (#30)
    by Patrick on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 03:48:52 PM EST
    No longer live where I work.  Now it's an hour+ commute, but well worth benefit of being a P.O.D.  (Plain ole Deputy)  

    Touche.... (none / 0) (#34)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 04:44:56 PM EST
    or they want to limit their contribution towards "new weapons systems".  Overtime jacks  your witholding big time:)

    OT (none / 0) (#22)
    by Patrick on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 03:04:47 PM EST
    Is nice in moderation, but can really make it tough when it's being mandated.  Most people I know work so they can live, not vice versa.  All the money in the world isn't worth missing your kids growing up...At least not to me and the people I work with.

    I agree..... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 03:21:15 PM EST
    but most people, most civil servants anyway, don't have the luxury of passing up (or resenting)overtime.

    I know my brother the letter carrier would kill for some mandatory overtime.


    Tell him (none / 0) (#28)
    by Patrick on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 03:45:01 PM EST
    To apply at LASD...

    Then I'd have to..... (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 04:00:46 PM EST
    disown him:)

    My brother (none / 0) (#32)
    by Patrick on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 04:14:43 PM EST
    is a letter carrier too...I just keep him away from automatic weapons.  

    Just speculating (none / 0) (#4)
    by Deconstructionist on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 09:21:55 AM EST
     but the vehicle impound part of the contest raises questions. In many if not most jurisdictions private tow-truck operators are called to impound vehicles and also it is common for the vehicles to be taken to the private companies' lots and for the companies to charge storage fees in addition to the towing fees.

     Being the cynical sort, I wonder if any private parties made money from the operation and if any private parties may heve been moved to generosity toward any officer because of the windfall.

    Did anyone notice (none / 0) (#5)
    by HeadScratcher on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 10:04:58 AM EST
    That the NEW YORK Times got a retired professor from the University of NEBRASKA to comment on a story from suburban LOS ANGELES. I guess all the law professors from UCLA, USC, Loyola, Pepperdine, etc... were busy that day.

    Loyola (none / 0) (#11)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 11:20:50 AM EST
    Loyola law professor Laurie Levenson said she was not surprised Judge had launched an investigation.

    "The sheriff basically handed him this opportunity," she said.

    But Levenson said she thought the public defender would be fighting an uphill battle to have any cases overturned absent solid evidence that the deputies had done something wrong.

    "Officers can have all the wrong motives, but they're still legal stops as long as there were objective facts to support reasonable suspicion or probable cause," said Levenson, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles.

    Did anyone notice (none / 0) (#6)
    by Patrick on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 10:41:18 AM EST
    The part in the story where they said there were no noticeable increases in the arrests, or bad arrests for that matter.  

    Gee the Public Defender's Office is upset by this.   Isn't that suprising?  Perhaps they're just as lazy and don't want the extra case load.  

    As for the vehicle storage.   You can spend a whole day impounding vehicles if you want to, but it takes away from the other aspects of the job.  Waiting 30+ minutes for a tow truck to arrive isn't my idea of good time management.  

    I saw this story yesterday on Drudge and was wondering how long it would take to make it here.  I figured it would have been T-Chris who posted it.  Guess I was wrong there.  I do like the "Sickening" comment.  Read the comments on the LA Times article, they were 2-1 in favor of it.  Bad form, maybe, but sickening?   Somehow I'm missing that.  

    Making a game.... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 10:52:24 AM EST
    of slapping cuffs on people qualifies as fairly sick in my book.

    No one called it a game (1.00 / 0) (#19)
    by Patrick on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 02:58:17 PM EST
    There was no prize at the end.  It was simply to motivate deputies to do their job, something that is often times easier said than done.  The fact that continues to remain overlooked is that there was no overall increase in the average number of arrests for the time period.  Meaning it didn't work or it did work and no one is passing up arrests they shouldn't be.  Either way, unless there's some showing that the arrests were made in bad faith for the purpose of the contest, I can see no legal or ethical problem with it.  Of course for the next 6 mos or so, every preliminary hearing/motion to suppress is going to have questions asked about it, but so what.  

    Send those unmotivated officers.... (5.00 / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 03:23:09 PM EST
    my way will ya!

    I'll trade ya for highly motivated gung-ho types:)


    The Sherrif is a d**k (none / 0) (#35)
    by allcopslawyersandjudgesareevil on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 05:41:35 PM EST
    Cops are evil, lawyers have ruined this country with silly lawsuits in their quest to qwench their greed, and judges are more worried about tee times than justice. Screw them all. In America, you make your own justice.