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Los Angeles County Sheriff reforms hiring

Posted: December 18, 2013 6:00 a.m.
Updated: December 18, 2013 6:00 a.m.
 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday it will reform hiring practices after revelations that 80 deputies had criminal convictions, histories of misconduct or other problem backgrounds.

The department will add an extra layer to its hiring process — a three-member panel to review applications that will include two lieutenants and a civilian, said Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

A Los Angeles Times investigation found that 80 of the 280 employees hired by the Sheriff's Department when it absorbed the county's Office of Public Safety in 2010 had what Whitmore terms "serious problems," including on-duty misconduct, poor job performance or financial issues.

The report was one of multiple recent problems for the department. Last week, 18 current or former deputies were indicted as part of an FBI probe of the nation's largest jail system. The charges alleged that some deputies engaged in crimes that included beating inmates and jail visitors, falsifying reports, and trying to obstruct the FBI investigation.

The Times found in its review of the department's internal hiring files found that 29 of the new deputies either had been fired or pressured to resign from other law enforcement agencies. Whitmore said the background investigators had done their jobs properly but there was a breakdown in the hiring process. The department is now reviewing all 80 problematic hires.

"This job is extraordinarily difficult and extraordinarily important," said Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers. "Public trust is everything and the Sheriff wants our communities to trust we're hiring the best and the brightest to do this job."

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