LA Co. Sheriff's Department says it hired 80 officers it shouldn't have (updated)

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department admitted Tuesday to hiring about 80 officers they shouldn't have due to serious issues in their backgrounds.

Spokesman Steve Whitmore told KPCC that the Sheriff’s Department hired about 50 unqualified deputies and another 30 or so jail assistants and other personnel who previously worked for the County’s Office of Public Safety. (The Los Angeles Times was the first to report this story.)

The department hired officers whose problems allegedly included criminal convictions, on-duty misconduct, poor job performance and financial problems, Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers told the Times, but Whitmore told KPCC the department probably can't fire them now.

"How do you legally fire an employee that has done everything they are supposed to do?" said Whitmore. "They told the truth. They went through the process. And then we hire them anyway."

Whitmore says they’re looking at moving the deputies off the streets into less sensitive positions, and retraining them.

"The sheriff takes corrective action immediately when he decides it must be done,” said Whitmore.

Sheriff Lee Baca has blamed his undersheriff at the time for the bad hires. That undersheriff has said he was pressured by county officials and the union to make room for them.
Baca, who is facing re-election next year, has faced other recent setbacks involving the department.

Last week a grand jury indicted 18 current and former employees on corruption and civil rights charges. Last year, a federal probe found his deputies racially profiled people in the Antelope Valley. 

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