LA Times On Our Incredible, Shrinking Sheriff

In case you missed it, the LA Times had a very long article on Thursday about how little Sheriff McDonnell has gotten done in the last four years and about the frustration with him by members of the Civilian Oversight Commission he formed.

While long, the article is not very serious, promoting unchecked nonsense such as that McDonnell “has gained the respect of the rank and file”–an assertion disproven by 96% of deputies recently voting they didn’t have confidence in him and wanted to be led by someone else. The Times knows this information perfectly well but failed to include it, we can only assume intentionally.

This and other sites have published nearly 200 articles in the past few months alone about mismanagement at LASD and they didn’t make a dent in the Times McDonnell apology tour.

This makes the Times an increasingly irrelevant department watchdog. Ditto the Times’ endorsement of McDonnell last week, despite focuses almost entirely on all the many ways McDonnell has been a complete disappointment, while providing no case for why he deserves more time. Or penalizing him for his refusal to make a forward-looking case for the next four years. But shrugging and endorsing him anyway.

With literally his only specific accomplishment being that serious use of force by deputies in the jail is down (a figure offset by a record high level of assaults on jail staff), McDonnell is going to the voters on June 5 with little to show for the last four years.

Yes, the department isn’t in national headlines for abusing inmates anymore. (Oh, wait, yes we are. And are. And are. And are. And are.) But what have you done for us lately?

Crime is up, transparency is at East German lows, deputy morale is worse than ever, and the sheriff has not articulated a vision for the future of the LASD, or of law enforcement in Los Angeles County or beyond. He has no clear views on the major issues facing law enforcement or our elected leaders. He is asking for another four years in the job without making the case he’d make good use of another four days.

Here’s the bottom line: If you think LASD needs to be reformed–in whatever way–the only way you’re going to do that is if the people in the organization respect and follow their leader. If the men and women of the LASD do not respect their leader, they will not follow him/her. They will lay low and try to get by (hence the reduction in serious use of force), but no enduring change will take place…other than the overall decay of the organization and pride for it. (See: inability to recruit).

LASD needs a leader. It needed one four years ago. Hopefully on June 5th it’ll get one.



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