Crime & Justice

Investigation into jail suicides uncovers deputy misconduct

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Los Angeles County authorities today said some sheriff’s deputies involved in misconduct at the downtown L.A. jail will keep their jobs. Two others were fired.

One of the deputies rigged a bar code system to make it look as if he and his colleagues were monitoring inmates in the jail’s discipline module when they weren’t.

“These deputies ignored those responsibilities and found a way to game the system,” said Michael Gennaco of LA County’s Office of Independent Review.

“One enterprising deputy was able to download a computer program that could then replica the scanning stations and then created these fake bar codes, put them on a sheet of paper and a deputy instead of now having to do his walks through the rows could simply stay at his station and conduct false security checks by scanning those bar codes.”

Gennaco said one inmate was able to commit suicide because deputies’ weren’t checking in on him as required. The Sheriff has fired two deputies, and has disciplined six others. Gennaco defended the decision to allow some of them to keep their jobs.

“They eventually did identify the perpetrator of the scheme and that would not have been possibly, probably, without their assistance.”

Those deputies likely will end up on street duty. Typically, the Sheriff’s Department first assigns deputies to the jails, then puts them on patrol.