L.A. Sheriff’s Deputies Hold Arrest, Impoundment Contests


Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies have recently been playing on-duty enforcement competitions that have police watchers crying foul, the Los Angeles Times reports. In one recent competition, described in an internal Sheriff’s Department e-mail as “Operation Any Booking,” The object was to arrest as many people as possible within a specific 24-hour period. Other one-day competitions have included “Operation Vehicle Impound,” a contest aimed at seizing as many cars as possible. Another challenged deputies to see how many gang members and other suspected criminals could be stopped and questioned. The prize for winning was nothing more than “bragging rights,” said an organizer. “It’s just a friendly competition to have a little fun out here.”

Police accountability experts, civil libertarians and defense attorneys condemned the practice, saying that it trivialized traumatic encounters such as arrests and having a car impounded, and raised questions about deputies’ motives. Hubert Williams, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Police Foundation, called the competitions “highly problematic and inappropriate.” Said Jane White of the National Center for Community Policing: “It’s crazy. I’m at a loss for words. I’ve never heard of anything like this before.” Sheriff Lee Baca said: “We’re not into numbers, we’re into quality. I don’t think it will occur again.”

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-games4oct04,0,3881557.story?coll=la-home-center

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