L.A. Sheriff’s Department Killing More Misconduct Investigations Under Villanueva, Report Finds
Officials working under Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva have been inactivating internal investigations of department personnel at a high rate, with most of the cancellations not conforming with department policies, according to a report issued Friday by the Sheriff’s Department’s chief watchdog.
A handful of the 45 inactivated investigations from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28 involve criminal allegations such as child abuse, domestic violence and having sexual relations with an inmate, according to the report by Rodrigo A. Castro-Silva, the interim leader of the Los Angeles County Office of Inspector General. Most of the other cases involve allegations of policy violations such as sleeping on duty and using derogatory language.
The inspector general also noted that other changes to employee discipline have been made in recent months, including cases in which the department moved to fire deputies for misconduct — including brandishing a weapon while intoxicated and fraternizing with a member of a criminal street gang — before entering into settlements that allowed the deputies to keep their jobs and serve days of suspension instead.
Villanueva, who has talked openly about being wrongfully disciplined as a deputy, has focused much of his public efforts on making sure deputies are treated fairly. He has said in recent statements to the county Board of Supervisors that he believes his predecessor, Jim McDonnell, opened too many administrative investigations against employees, the report noted.
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