The mistrial declared in the federal corruption trial of former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca should not be viewed as absolving leadership failures in the department, the heads of the sheriff’s deputies’ union said Thursday.
Ron Hernandez, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, said that instead of concentrating changes in the department at the top, the agency instead is targeting “rank-and-file deputies.”
“A mere accusation of misconduct is now immediately followed by the second-guessing of deputies, and when discipline is imposed, it is overly severe,” Hernandez said. “Today’s hard-working deputies should not be judged, or pre-judged, based on the past actions of others just as our current sheriff and executive staff would not want to have those evaluating their actions automatically assume they are continuing the misdeeds of Baca and (former Undersheriff Paul) Tanaka.”
He said the union “remains disappointed in the sentences that were handed down to deputies in the past year for crimes relating to the Baca/Tanaka scandal. Justice requires that those who directed criminal conduct should not be the least punished.”
“Rank-and-file deputies are determined by their daily actions on the job to show the public that the crimes committed by former department executives reflect only upon those executives and their leadership failures,” he said.
–City News Service