The Beverly Hills Courier ran a good interview with candidate for Sheriff Bob Lindsey this weekend. (They also ran a story on Jim McDonnell’s candidacy two weeks ago.) To see a PDF of the full newspaper, click here (see page 5). Otherwise, we’ve excerpted the article for you below:
Bob Lindsey Discusses Why He’s Opposing Jim McDonnell In The L.A. County Sheriff’s Race
Editors note: Two weeks ago, the Courier profiled L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell on his bid for re-election. This week, the Courier sat down with one of his main competitors in the 2018 race, retired L.A. County Sheriff’s Commander Bob Lindsey.
By Matt Lopez
If anyone knows the ins and outs of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, it’s Bob Lindsey.
After all, he spent 32 years in the department; many of those years in high-ranking positions. Lindsey retired in 2011 as a commander in the department.
Lindsey says he supported L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell against disgraced undersheriff Paul Tanaka, whom Lindsey worked closely with for many years at the department, and is now in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to obstruct a federal probe into violence at county jails. Lindsey now believes McDonnell is no longer the right man to lead the Sheriff’s Department.
“I call it a bad experiment,” Lindsey says of McDonnell’s four years in charge of the department. “(McDonnell) has done nothing to clean up the department. In fact, he’s taken it backward.”
Lindsey told the Courier during a sit-down interview on Monday that he had high hopes for McDonnell coming into the department as an outsider to clean things up, but Lindsey claims McDonnell has trusted the wrong people in key positions and said he believes the department is still rife with much of the same corruption issues that existed before McDonnell was elected to take over.
Lindsey says he’s been in touch with many of the department’s rank-and-file officers and claims that seeds of discontent are growing rapidly in the department. Among Lindsey’s most troubling claims are that McDonnell has promoted 26 of Tanaka’s closest allies to high-ranking positions within the department.
“The worst thing McDonnell did was, immediately after taking over, he comes in and says everyone has a clean slate,” Lindsey said. “That’s a nice thing to hear on paper, but the reality is many of these people were corrupt.”
Lindsey added, bluntly: “Tanaka could literally run this organization from jail if he wanted to… what the Sheriff’s Department needs is a cleansing of the executive staff.”
During his 32-year career with the Sheriff’s Department, Lindsey – who retired in 2011 as a commander – served in 24 different assignments, everything from working patrol, to the Men’s Central Jail, to captain of Personnel/Human Resources/Training.
Lindsey clearly has no love lost for Tanaka, whom he claims asked him several times to cheat on exams to pass undeserving deputies up the ranks when Lindsey worked in hiring and promotions, but speaks with reverence of former sheriff Lee Baca, who was sentenced to three years in fed- eral prison for his role in the obstruction scheme.
“Sheriff Baca wanted to see the best in every situation,” Lindsey said. “Tanaka was a rocket to the top by Sheriff Baca; that was Baca’s biggest mistake.”
Lindsey’s belief is that, in general, McDonnell has been wholly unfit for the job. The department is operating at a $40 million budget deficit, hiring is way down and crime is up nearly across the board from where it was when McDonnell took over.
“This guy doesn’t know how to run our budget and he has no clue about how to hire,” Lindsey boldly stated.
Lindsey said deputies have expressed discontent at newly-implemented “use of force” policies aimed at curbing delicate social issues involving police brutality in America, but Lindsey says the policy is too strict and has led to an uptick in crime.
Lindsey claims there is a “gag order” policy in effect within the department that has prevented those inside from speaking out.
So how does Lindsey fix what he claims are McDonnell’s mistakes? He says one of his biggest goals, aside from getting the budget back in order and filling the hundreds of vacancies in the department, is to re-shape the department’s community relationships.
“Those were the people feeding information to the department,” Lindsey said. “We need to reach back out to the black community, to the Hispanic community, the Asian community. Each community is different and has their own different issues.”