Addressing LASD Deputy Gangs


One of my top priorities as Sheriff is to eliminate deputy gangs.  Deputy gangs and their negative impact on the communities we are sworn to protect and serve has also impacted fellow deputies who have shunned this brand of policing and do their job professionally. Under my administration I want our department to be known for community policing, not deputy gangs. 
 
I recognize that we cannot stop Deputies from congregating in their free time, but if they are participating in criminal activity on or off the job, they should be prosecuted and will be prosecuted under my command. 
 
My objective is simple: eliminate the deputy gangs within LASD and it will start by providing academy training on the negative impacts these gangs and or cliques have internally within the Department and Externally with the public we serve. This must be rooted in all new deputy training going forward.
 
We will provide a reporting method to non uniformed Internal Affairs personnel to separate the current image with the public of “Nothing will be done by fellow deputies.” In addition we will provide training for the line personnel, hold supervisors accountable and continually monitor the workplace to identify signs of negative behavior towards the public and amongst fellow deputies. The current Sheriff refuses to act on this and I, as Sheriff will.


Documented Background and History

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), has a history of Deputy Gangs or cliques dating back to the early 1970’s. These affiliations cast shadows over the department; allegations of rogue behavior i.e., intentional deputy-involved shootings, harassment of non-clique members, peer pressure, have been documented for years. 

Recently the Loyola Marymount University - Loyola Law School - Center for Juvenile Law and Policy in January 2021  and the Rand Corporation in September 2021 analyzed these allegations and published their findings on these deputy-involved cliques.


Included was an anonymous survey of deputies conducted by the Rand Corporation and released in September 2021, 16% of those surveyed acknowledged they were asked to join a Deputy Gang and or Clique.  Of those who acknowledged their existence, 25% of them said that they were asked to join a Deputy Gang or subgroup in the last 5 years.
 

**Note from the Rand Report (2021) and Loyola Law School Report (2021) **
Identified deputy gangs included Banditos & Cavemen (East LA), Buffalo Soldiers (Century), Cowboys (Century/Palmdale), Executioners (Compton), Reapers (Lennox/South LA), Jump Out Boys (Operation Safe Streets/Gang Enforcement Team), Posse (Twin Towers Correctional Facility), Rattlesnakes (Palmdale/Lancaster), Tasmanian Devils (Temple), 2000/3000 Boys (Men’s Central Jail), Vikings (Lynwood), Wayside Whities (Pitchess Detention Center). 

News reports from multiple local television stations to print publications like The L.A Times, Rolling Stone Magazine and Online Media sources such as Knock L.A have all written stories on Los Angeles Sheriff Department Deputy Gangs.

The current Sheriff has the audacity to deny their existence. 


Identifying Problematic Stations and Facilities

As Sheriff, I will make concerted efforts to curb and eliminate negative cultural behavior relating to deputy gangs. Based on the Rand and Loyola Law School reports, three stations were identified where deputy gangs exert their influence, alongside the problematic Custody Division (jails):

 

Patrol: Compton (CPT), East Los Angeles (ELA), and Century (CEN, formerly known as Lynwood/LYN).   

Custody Division: Men’s Central Jail (MCJ), Twin Towers Correctional Facility (TTCF) and North County Correctional Facility (NCCF)

I will rebuild problematic stations with negative histories. Each rebuilt station will be environmentally and community friendly.  These locations will have a community center, public amphitheater, athletic fields, exercise equipment, exercise tracks and house after school programs to unite the community and our station personnel.


My Commitment to Reform


Deputy Rotation

The length of time any personnel will be assigned to one specific station or custody facility will be monitored and recommended movement will take place every 3 to 5 years to avoid complacency or territorial control over any one shift or position.

Improved Supervisory Accountability

Leadership and supervisory oversight is essential. I will hold respective unit / facility commanders responsible and accountable for any negative behavior occurring under their command: either unlawful or policy violations. 

Proactive Training

Training opens the door to learning and becoming better employees for all ranks and positions. I will implement yearly mandatory training courses. Upon the employee’s completion of each course, a documented signature of acknowledgment shall be required with date and training supervisor for accountability. Ranks include civilians, and sworn through the rank of Commander.

  • Academy recruits shall receive training in the academy to identify, understand, and know the proper actions to take if encountered by Deputy Gangs. Training Officers shall receive training to recognize early signs of hazing and gang like activity. Supervisors shall receive initial training in their supervisors field operations school before promotion to their new rank. Regardless of the rank, ongoing training will be a priority throughout their career with the Department.

  • “Deputy Cliques” and cultural awareness training shall be included during facility briefings.

  • “Lessons Learned Briefs” will occur regularly, where department members will discuss previous examples where discipline was given to problem deputies. These will be implemented to help department members learn from past mistakes and understand the consequences of poor decision making.

Disciplinary Action Changes

Employees will be held accountable for any misconduct. Gang or Clique activity will be monitored and swiftly addressed. Discipline ranging from written reprimand, remedial training and termination will be considered and applied based upon the level of the offense. Termination of problem Deputies will exist under my command.

Review and Change the Internal Investigation Process

The LASD has been repeatedly criticized regarding the investigations conducted by department members, on department members. Presently the Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) conducts administrative investigations involving LASD manual and policy procedures section violations.  We have been accused of not initiating investigations, extending favoritism, executives putting pressure on unit commanders to not approve investigations, or investigations ending up as “Unfounded”. My new actions will include:

  • Creating positions for certified and trained civilian personnel to review cases and make disciplinary recommendations.  

  • Reviewing the entire investigative process when elected.  

  • Supporting post investigation reviews by the Civilian Oversight Commission (or other outside agencies).  

 
My Pledge as Sheriff to our Fellow Deputies

As Sheriff, I realize the importance of having a work environment free of hazing, or unwanted negative behavior from peers or supervisors.   I understand that in today’s society, the duties of a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff are stressful and more challenging than ever.  In order to be the best Sheriff’s Department in the Nation we must rise to a higher professional standard. I am committed to leading us to that standard.

 

My Pledge as Sheriff to the Communities We Serve

I recognize the history and negative impact deputy gangs and cliques have had on the communities we serve.  We are sworn to protect you and I will take action on rogue Deputies who tarnish our reputation.

I am committed to providing quality service, quick response times and compassion to the communities we are entrusted to serve when responding to calls for service and daily interaction with the public.

We must create an environment wherein everyone feels safe, secure and welcomed in the communities where they live and work. I will do everything in my power to bring and uphold a standard of excellence in law enforcement and bring us all together. Under my leadership we will be known for Community Policing, Not Deputy Gangs.