The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has collected the names of about 300 deputies who have a history of past misconduct — such as domestic violence, theft, bribery and brutality — that could damage their credibility if they testify in court.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell wants to send the names to prosecutors, who can decide whether to add them to an internal database that tracks problem officers in case the information needs to be disclosed to defendants in criminal trials.
But McDonnell’s move has set off a heated battle that pits the privacy rights of officers against efforts by law enforcement agencies to be more transparent.
The union that represents rank-and-file deputies strongly opposes providing the names to prosecutors and has taken the department to court. The Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs argues that the disclosure would violate state laws protecting officer personnel files and draw unfair scrutiny on deputies whose mistakes might have happened long ago.
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