The Civilian Oversight Commission for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department this week hosted its monthly Commission meeting. Several topics were covered including further review of the Internal Administrative Investigations, a presentation on the Mental Evaluation Teams, and the approval of the Immigration Ad Hoc Committee Report.
At the April meeting, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Internal Administrative Investigations report-back showed a sharp increase in the number of inactivated administrative investigations. In the presentation to the Commission this week, Deputy Inspector General Bita Shasty acknowledged a concern regarding the language used in the detailed reasoning in the inactivation memoranda.
Inspector General Max Huntsman stated, “it’s critical that the policies be followed and that the documentation be there so that the Sheriff’s Department itself can look closely and be consistent with the discipline it provides.”
According to the general directive from the Manual of Policy and Procedure 3-04/020.15, Administrative Investigation Procedures, “all investigations should be completed.” The handbook also states “in most circumstances, it is in the best interest of the Department to continue an investigation regardless of whether or not the subject resigns or retires and/or the complainant withdraws their complaint.”
Concerned about the process and the documentation, Commission Chair Patti Giggans said, “the most egregious thing any institution, any employer can do, is to not follow their own written personnel policy.”
After many questions went unanswered at today’s meeting, the Commission agreed to send a letter to the L.A. County Sheriff to request interviews with chiefs who participate in the inactivation process, as well as appropriately redacted inactivation memos.
With plans to further review the Internal Administrative Investigations policies and compliance, Chair Giggans said, “we want to make it very clear we are not trying to violate any of the confidential parameters that are built in. And, if that is going to be used as a smokescreen as to why people cannot come and talk to us, that’s not going to fly very well because it is not about getting into the weeds of any individual cases, it is about policy and how it is being enacted or not enacted.”
The Reform and Oversight Efforts report shows the Sheriff’s Department inactivated 54 administrative cases in the present quarter.
The Commission also approved the report on L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Commissioner Hernán Vera, chair of the ad hoc committee, discussed the Sheriff Department’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities and provided background on the public safety concerns that drove the recommendations.
The report is the result of the Immigration Ad Hoc Committee’s review and analysis of the Department’s interactions with ICE. The committee conducted on-site tours of the inmate reception center release area and observed deputies during ride-a-longs. They also reviewed the Sheriff’s Department public website and heard community feedback.
The Commission will now submit these recommendations to the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Department for consideration.