L.A. Sheriff Baca Admits Hiring Officers With Flawed Backgrounds


Under fire for hiring dozens of officers with histories of serious misconduct, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca acknowledged shortcomings in the way his agency handled the process, reports the Los Angeles Times. “We did a job that could have been done better,” Baca said. “There is a reality here that certain individuals, upon scrutiny, need to be revisited and that’s exactly what I intend to do.”

Baca’s comments came a day after county leaders demanded he investigate his department’s hiring practices. Those calls came in response to a Times report that Baca’s agency hired dozens of officers from a disbanded county police force in 2010 even though investigators had found significant misconduct in their backgrounds. Internal sheriff’s files showed that jobs were given to officers who accidentally fired their weapons, had sex at work, committed theft or solicited prostitutes. For nearly 100 of the roughly 280 hires, investigators discovered evidence of dishonesty, such as making untrue statements or falsifying police records. At least 15 were caught cheating on the department’s own polygraph exams. Baca, who had previously declined to be interviewed on the subject, said “the undersheriff” was responsible for the hires — a reference to his former second-in-command, Larry Waldie, who led the expansion.

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