By Darrell Park
The bigotry, corruption and absolute power that are defining traits of the LA County Sheriff’s Department are not new, but the Department has received unwanted national attention recently. A deputy, who had apparently been transferred to that station as punishment for dishonest behavior, claimed that he was shot by a sniper. In response, or to be more accurate over response, the Sheriff’s Department called in seemingly hundreds of Deputies to ransack the apartment building next door and harass, threaten and assault its completely innocent residents. Watch for settlements in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars for the disproportionate raid that occurred, with even electric wheelchair bound residents being assaulted and their property destroyed.
Sadly, this was not just an isolated incident. Instead it is a microcosm of what the Department does wrong daily. Let’s break down what needs to be fixed:
Punishment for dishonesty as a Sheriff’s Deputy must be termination, not a transfer, and punishment for a hoax of this magnitude should be the same as a civilian would receive. More than one complaint from the public or the Oversight entity and a Deputy is pulled from service.
Oversight needs to come from LA County Residents with the power to hire and fire and the requirement to publicly report weekly on racial bias in all interactions with the public including: traffic stops, tickets, arrests, physical altercations, shootings, officer complaints and other categories.
Body Cameras for every deputy – no excuses and footage belongs to Resident’s Oversight.
Better screening of recruits. Currently we have actual gangs in our Sheriff’s Department. Hiring should be done by the Oversight entity. Full background checks for racial bias and other issues. Supervisors are criminally accountable for bigotry and gang activity in their Department. We don’t need super aggressive, bigoted deputies, we need problem solvers who are good at making sure that everyone gets home safely
Better Training of proven de-escalation techniques and strategies.
To counteract the influence of millions of dollars the Deputies’ unions spends on County elections, create a public finance program similar to the one the City of Los Angeles employs.