LA Sheriff's Department Hired Officers With History of Misconduct Including Drunk Driving, Battery, Hiring Prostitutes

An extensive review by the Los Angeles Times has revealed that dozens of law enforcement officers recently hired had committed serious misconduct in the past. The LA Times’ Robert Faturechi and Ben Poston reported over the weekend that some of those who were hired in 2010 by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department had accidentally fired their weapons, had sex at work or solicited prostitutes.

The Sheriff’s Department went on a hiring spree in 2010 after the agency took over patrols of parks and state buildings from a separate law enforcement agency.  The official responsible for overseeing the applicants claims he did not see any of the information the LA Times has brought to light, and that he was under pressure to hire as many officers as possible.

Here’s some of what the LA Times found:

-188 were rejected for other law enforcement jobs.

-100 people were hired had made false statements at previous law enforcement agencies. 15 cheated on a polygraph exam.

-29 had previously been fired or pressured to resign from a past law enforcement job.

-30 were convicted for drunk driving, battery or other lower-level crimes

-Several had been accused of misconduct while at the new job at the Sheriff’s Department.

For example, David McDonald was hired despite the fact that he told sheriff investigators he had a relationship with a 14-year-old--when he was 28. “I was in love. I wasn’t being a bad guy,” he told the LA Times. The love affair wasn’t the only problem. McDonald was made a jail guard by the LA Sheriff despite allegations that he had a history of using excessive force on inmates. He has been disciplined for using physical force on an inmate at his new job.  A number of officers who had problems in the past also committed misconduct while on their new jobs.

Another officer hired was Ferdinand Salgado.  As a country police officer, he had solicited a prostitute after he got off work.  The prostitute turned out to be an undercover cop.  He pleaded guilty to “disturbing the peace.” He was hired as a jail guard but has since left the Sheriff’s Department.

One of officers involved with the expansion of the Sheriff’s Department said, “I was under the impression that people with backgrounds like that were not being hired.” A similar sentiment was aired by Sheriff Department Chief Lee Baca before he found out about the investigation. “Baca told Times reporters that people with records of violence or dishonesty have no place in law enforcement. He said applicants who had been fired from other agencies shouldn't be given a second chance, and that he would not hire applicants with histories of illegal sexual conduct.”

He refused to comment after the LA Times told him of their investigation.

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