Tag: Waste

McDonnell Destroys LASD Reserve Program

Update: Shortly after this article was posted on Monday, the California Reserve Peace Officers Association endorsed Bob Lindsey for Sheriff. Every LASD reserve should join CRPOA for protection from the Department and for reserve-focused representation, both in court and in Sacramento.  Now back to the article…!

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LASD’s Reserve Program is one of its most valuable assets. Or, it was.

LASD’s reservists were the engine behind $10 million per year in free labor to the county and contract cities before Jim McDonnell took office, and the backbone of our county charter-mandated search and rescue capability. At my station, I often saw reserves show up to fill spots in the schedule–they handled calls of all kinds, backed their partners, and got into some good police work. Some were always “getting on the patch”. They were always happy to be there, even when we weren’t. But those days are over. Given McDonnell’s lack of interest in all the things that have made LASD great, and the ability with which he is manipulated by people with their own agendas, he has managed to obliterate a proud and valuable asset it took the county 50 years to build in a little over three.  Consider:

  • The size of the reserve program has been cut in half since McDonnell took office between retirements, resignations and at-will terminations.The program stood at about 800 members before McDonnell took office, was at 657 in fall 2016, and is around 450 today. Of those, how many are actually, regularly working patrol?  50?  Maybe?
      • [EDITOR’S NOTE: We are working to validate the true number of current reserves. Some sources have said ~450; others have said it may be around 600. In either case, it’s down big time and people are working less than ever.]
    • With 250 or so reserves and volunteers assigned to search and rescue, the number of reserves patrolling (for free) the county and contract cities is probably the lowest its ever been. This at a time the department is down roughly 1,500 deputies with no end in sight.

Who are we talking about here? Reserve deputies are academy-trained volunteer deputy sheriffs. They serve for $1 per year work across the department based on their expertise and interests. The reserve program is a huge free labor pool–and a massive opportunity for the department to build bridges with the community.

Each one of these reserves is an ambassador of law enforcement and of LASD to their families, social and professional networks. They, and their power to influence and build bonds within the community, should be respected, not abused.

  • Is this a case of quality over quantity? Nope. Many of the reserves who have quit or retired did so because they were demoralized. Many have also been fired (without cause or due process), typically for the crime of doing police work.
  • Numerous reserves have also left LASD to become reserves–or go full time–at other agencies. In fact, one recent LASD Reserve of the Year can be found over at Glendale now. Given all the hassle and risk involved in starting someplace new, why would somebody do that…?

Now we have learned, reserves are essentially unable to obtain concealed weapons permits. When they apply to renew their existing permit, virtually 100% have been denied for lack of “good cause”–the same excuse McDonnell uses to refuse them to the public. To be clear: he is refusing CCWs to police officers. This comes just a month after LASD.News exclusively reported that McDonnell was also revoking CCWs from retired deputies. Obviously all the deputies he’s fired for nonsense are on their own, too. Who’s next?

  • It should be noted that state law does not require reserves to even obtain a CCW. LAPD simply allows its reserves to carry off-duty and it’s written on the back of their cards. LASD has chosen to require CCWs and is now making it impossible to get them. This puts deputies’ lives in danger. Indeed, given that several LASD reserves have saved lives through off-duty incidents, it puts the public in danger.
  • We are not talking about politically-connected Level 3 reserves/McDonnell donors here. We are talking about people who are fully trained, have put in their time and been pushing an LASD radio car since before McDonnell was a motor at LAPD.
  • McDonnell has also refused to extend Peace Officer Bill of Rights protections to reserves. Despite the fact that they do the same work as regular deputies and take the same risks, McDonnell has chosen to treat them as seventh-class citizens. He could extend POBR protection but has chosen not to.
  • LASD’s historic Reserve Forces Bureau was also recently marginalized from a Bureau to a “Detail”, losing the captain position that gave it internal credibility. Now it’s got less managerial firepower than a DUI checkpoint.
  • Its Operations Sergeant and several civilians recently retired all at once and the clerical staff have not been replaced. Now, reserves themselves are being asked (according to a May 8, 2018 email) to come in perform clerical work. Talk about a valuable program withering on the vine.
  • Seemingly the only person still hanging around Reserve Forces is the guy accused of manufacturing fake IDs for politically-connected donors!
  • As a result of RFB’s marginalization, reserves are unable to get training, including for things as basic as how to use in-car computers (MDCs) or continuing training on firearms, use of force, first aid or other basics.  This is what the reserves at my station tell me!  This as we now know desk personnel have long been unable to get training on how to handle 911 calls.
  • The Reserve recruitment website goes to an error page.
  • Ditto, the website for Reserve Forces Bureau.
  • Meanwhile, the last online issue of the reserve newsletter is from 2011.

It’s always darkest before the dawn–yet there is light at the end of this tunnel. On June 5, you (and everyone you know) will have the opportunity to elect Bob Lindsey to turn this ship around before McDonnell steers it even further into the rocks.

While we have not heard what Alex Villanueva’s position on the reserve program is, Lindsey often talks about the importance of “rebuilding” LASD’s reserve program and using its resources to better serve the community. And that’s exactly what LASD’s reserves, LASD as a whole, and the communities we serve need.

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LASD Announces $40 Million Budget Deficit–But Case For Even More Money Isn’t So Clear

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is running a $40 million deficit on its $3.2 billion budget, the county’s CEO announced on Tuesday.

That’s $40,000,000 out of $3,200,000,000.  Lots and lots of zeroes.

A major cause for the deficit is $260 million in overtime spending–twice what was planned for–with another $100 million in cost overruns on the way due to retiree healthcare and workers compensation costs.

This news coming over three years and millions of dollars wasted into Sheriff McDonnell’s term.  And without any apparent media probing re why workers compensation costs are up–including why-oh-why 37 office-dwelling lieutenants, captains and commanders are allegedly out injured.

Here’s a link to the report itself.

As anyone familiar with the Sheriff’s Department knows, because the department is so severely understaffed (with approximately 1,500 fewer deputies than it should have), it is heavily reliant on forcing deputies/giving deputies the opportunity to work overtime (depending on how you look at it) in order to meet minimum staffing.

While LASD sure could use any more money the Board of Supervisors wants to throw its way, the problem is that even deputies know we have a credibility problem suggesting we need more money because they know we aren’t spending what we already have wisely:

  • The sheriff spends at least $2 million per year (5% of the deficit) on his personal chauffeurs.  This is real tax money and the sheriff has no credibility in asking the board for a bigger budget when he spends tax money like a Saudi prince.
  • Significant bloating of management, including:
    • 27 Commanders, 74 Captains, 387 Lieutenants, plus 16 Chiefs, Assistant Sheriffs, and Sheriff/Undersheriff plus a bunch of civilian directors…maybe 1/3 or 1/2 of whom have a county Charger with county gas
    • The annual total compensation alone for all these non-enforcement personnel is probably over $200 million.
  • And then there are the hundreds of personnel assigned to unnecessary, non-enforcement positions.  Not just the sheriff’s personal drivers–but in assignments which are nice-to-have if you’ve got the money, but unnecessary (at least to be performed by sworn staff) if you don’t.  Examples here might include the International Liaison unit, the Video Unit, in audit functions, the new Lieutenant assigned to the Office of the Sheriff, etc.  There are hundreds of deputies all over the department who could be more valuably pushing hoops and fighting crime than doing whatever they’re doing now–and we owe it to the taxpayers to stop wasting their money before demanding more.

What examples of wasteful spending can you cite?

The Sheriff’s Department’s first responsibility is to protect the public.  Yet McDonnell is starving patrol and custody of the resources to keep the public safe and redirecting those funds to build a bureaucracy.  Now he wants the public to pay for actual public safety twice.

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But here’s the other thing: the Sheriff is now whining all over town about how about how “tough” it is to recruit.  And the Board of Supervisors has approved a plan to pay a consultant a bunch of money to tell him why and design a better system (similar to the $297 million plan the Border Patrol just got approved).  Yet he has no interest in the real reasons why he’s (we’re) having such a hard time (and the other politicians and media aren’t holding his feet to the fire, either).

Do we really need a consultant to tell us why people aren’t applying, or aren’t getting hired, and what should be done about it?  REALLY?!  Our 500 lieutenants and above couldn’t figure it out?

“He completely ignored it, and when you do that it has catastrophic results,” Bob Lindsey (candidate for sheriff and previously responsible for LASD recruiting), told KPCC National Public Radio.

In fact, the Department could have been doing many things over the past four years to increase its ability to recruit applicants and (more importantly) actually hire good deputy sheriffs.  Here are just a few basic ideas which were certainly proposed to the sheriff and he refused/failed to pursue:

  1. The biggest thing the sheriff could have done is to foster an environment where people want to work.  An environment where people are rewarded for working.  LASD should–and can–be a place where people will accept being paid less than somewhere else in order to work in the big leagues and have a career of amazing experiences.  They’ve been doing it for years.  But when you see thousands of deputies being fired or having their careers destroyed by civilian lawyers and internal political shenanigans, people don’t want to put themselves in that position.
  2. Stop telling existing personnel they have a responsibility to recruit people to LASD.  They don’t–and they aren’t, because they don’t think its morally right to encourage people to make life mistakes.  Instead, ask deputies what stops them from encouraging people to apply here and fix the things they cite.
  3. Actively pursuing EXISTING DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES including civilian Law Enforcement Technicians, Custody Assistants and Reserve Deputies (all of which the agencies we are competing against for talent aggressively pursue and fast-track).
  4. Stop viewing our high disqualification rate (96%?) as a good thing.  Yes, it’s good the public know we are selective.  But a failure rate that high also suggests we are doing a poor job recruiting the right talent, retaining the interest of the right talent, getting them through the process, and possibly that disqualification quotas are present in the system.

The fact is, there are still a lot of people who want to be cops.  Despite the bad media environment, cowardly politicians and good economy.  It’s a noble and exciting profession…and cops in Southern California make great money (many, significantly more than they would in the private sector).  The sad fact is that many people simply don’t want to be deputies at LASD, because of what they have heard and what they see.  And that we badly mistreat many of those who apply here anyway.

“Come to LASD, where you have one badge but unlimited opportunities.  And then when you do your job, we’ll find a reason to hang you out to dry!”  Gee, can’t imagine why our numbers are down and applicants’ first choices are Torrance, Santa Ana, Glendale, Anaheim, Beverly Hills, SBSO…

We don’t need an expensive consultant to tell us these things.  We need a new sheriff to.  And we’ll have that chance on June 5.

 

 

In Case You Missed It: KABC 7 Special Investigation on Sheriff McDonnell’s Waste of Public Funds

In all the reporting about Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s abysmal “leadership” of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department, it’s easy to forget this important story last year from ABC 7 reporters Miriam Hernandez and Lisa Bartley on how Sheriff McDonnell decided it be smart to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to make the star decal on patrol car doors shinier and to change the capitalization of the letter “O” in “A Tradition Of Service” to “A Tradition of Service”.  And that it would show real integrity to not just lie to the public about the true costs of doing the work but then to shove some poor sergeant in front of the cameras–looking like a deer in the headlights–to defend it.

Here Is A Link To The Full News Segment from KABC’s Website

Sheriff “Executives” Burn $45,000 In Tax Dollars for Meeting Along Majestic Lake Arrowhead

The fine folks over at Surruo.com recently reported that Los Angeles County Emir Jim McDonnell–despite facing an enormous budget deficit prompting him to release prisoners from jail–thought it appropriate to blow $45,000 (or 60 Tasers the department needs but doesn’t have) on a staff meeting alongside beautiful Lake Arrowhead.  Click here for the absurd, ludicrous story.

LASD Mocked For Wasteful Spending In Front Of Millions Of People on Jimmy Kimmel

In case you missed it, Jimmy Kimmel recently mocked our beloved Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for the profligate spending of our Dear Leader, Sheriff Jim McDonnell.

Kimmel’s over two-million viewers were treated to this video, lampooning the sheriff’s decision to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on replacing belt buckles and keeper snaps (and multiple employees traversing the county over the course of a year) in order to do it. The LA Times, the Daily News and our friends over at Surruo.com all have their own stories on these shamalam, as well.

While the sheriff asserted the buckles and snaps would only waste $300,000 or so taxpayer dollars, he omitted the labor, transportation and other costs of the multiple county employees involved in executing this switcharoo.  Some might suggest the willful omission of pertinent facts is an integrity issue…all we know is the real cost was probably closer to a million bucks.

Meanwhile, deputies are driving 11 year old patrol cars with bulletholes in them and broken air conditioners (it doesn’t get very hot up in Palmdale, does it?), there are nowhere near enough Tasers for patrol (to say nothing of patrol rifles…or optics on patrol rifles).  But, belt buckles–got plenty of those.

LASD To Spend $300K+ (But Probably A Million) to Replace Silver Belt Buckles and Snaps With Brass

The Los Angeles Times recently got wind of an internal train wreck deputies have known about for some time: Sheriff McDonnell’s plan to spend at least (but probably significantly more than) $300,000 in taxpayer dollars to replace perfectly good and uniform policy compliant silver belt buckles with new brass-colored ones.

While the department asserts that the cost to taxpayers is merely $300,000 in their hard-earned money, this figure does not seem to include the sergeant, deputy and civilian personnel involved in the change as well as responsible for traipsing all over the county to change out the buckles and snaps.  All told, the real cost is likely closer to a $1 million.  And, as usual under Sheriff McDonnell, the loss of internal and community confidence that results from playing hide-the-ball.

Reports the Times, “Sheriff Jim McDonnell is spending the money on a minor cosmetic makeover of deputies’ uniforms: changing the color of their belt buckles and other metal pieces of gear from silver to gold. That way, the metallic bits — all made of brass — will match the gold-hued tie clips, lapel pins and six-pointed star badges that deputies already wear, McDonnell said.”

Says ALADS President Ron Hernandez: “This [expenditure] is something that would be better suited to a department that’s running like a well-oiled machine, but not a department that’s in turmoil.”