More than 100 lawyers and auditors working for California’s prison oversight office are classified as peace officers, carrying guns, driving state cars home at night and becoming eligible for the generous pensions offered to people who risk their lives in the name of public safety, reports the Los Angeles Times. None of the 105 sworn peace officers in the California Office of the Inspector General has made an arrest, fired a gun in the line of duty or responded to an emergency in a state car in the last five years, according to a report by the state Senate.
The police perks, especially the car and the pension that begins at age 50, are used as recruiting tools, inducement for professionals to devote their work lives to California’s beleaguered prison system. The benefits come with a cost to taxpayers. The auditors and lawyers logged about a million miles in their state cars last year; more than 700,000 of those were for the commute between home and office. At 50 cents per mile, which is what the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes estimates it costs to run a state car, that’s $350,000.