For years, the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department transferred problem deputies to lockups as a way of keeping them from the public, reports the Los Angeles Times. Other deputies were allowed to remain working in the jails after being convicted of crimes or found guilty of serious misconduct. Among them was a deputy who beat a firefighter bloody and unconscious during an off-duty incident, and another who allegedly threatened to stab a bar bouncer.
The backgrounds and conduct of deputies working in the jails have come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks amid revelations that some employees have beaten inmates, smuggled in contraband, and falsified reports. The cases offer a window into how the Sheriff’s Department has managed its jails, and offer more ammunition to critics who have asked Sheriff Lee Baca to use more experienced, better qualified deputies in the jails. “This is shocking and a total aberration for the profession,” said David Bennett, a criminal justice consultant who has been hired by jails.