July 12, 2008

One factor explaining increased cost of the Lakewood Sheriff's 2008-9 contract

The report below makes the increased cost of LASD (sheriff) service make sense. Look at this brilliant taser incident right here in Lakewood. What will that cost? Of course dont forget the cost of wrongful shootings like this one and the settlement costs of crashing into hapless motorists while drunk on the job.

The report notes that the in-custody claims are increasing and are more costly to resolve. We think it is likely due to the fact that juries see these in custody injuries or deaths as less justifiable than other injuries or deaths.

I think part of the reason for these incidents is poor on the job training, a "don't care attitude", (as deputies are not personally at risk for bad behavior) and just plain lack of smarts and common sense. Lets face it you are giving a gun (and tremendous power and unquestioned authority) to some guys that barely have a high school diploma. (yes some do go to college on our nickel once on the force to boost their salary)

The only good thing to be said about sheriff's "contract" service is that the pain of the cost of these settlements is spread over the whole county and all contract cities and not just Lakewood (which it would be if Lakewood had its own police force). The sore point however is that we are getting close to the tipping point of LASD costing more than they are "worth" in terms of achievements. We need more individual deputy legal responsibility. But that will happen when hell freezes over thanks to public unions and their mafia like grip over elected officials.

From the July 2008 report of Special Counsel Merrick Bobb (click on image to enlarge):

Read the full report here from the semiannual reports of Special Counsel Merrick Bobb and staff discussing the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD). These reports are prepared at the direction of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors pursuant to its appointment of special counsel to conduct ongoing monitoring and critical review of the LASD's performance.

Report: LA Inmate Deaths, Injuries Costing Millions In Settlements

POSTED: 12:35 pm PDT July 11, 2008

LOS ANGELES -- Deaths and injuries to people in custody in Los Angeles County jails continue to cost the county millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements, according to a report released Friday.

While the number of lawsuits filed against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has dropped in recent years, the total amount of money paid out due to litigation has increased, according to an internal investigations report released by Merrick Bobb, special counsel to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

When looking at three-year averages over the past six years -- from 2001 through 2004 as compared to 2004 through 2007 -- the number of lawsuits closed dropped from an average of 300 a year to 233 a year, but the total amount paid rose from an average of $9.9 million a year to $10.5 million.

The average amount paid for lawsuits during the earlier period was $33,000, and jumped to $44,800 over the second three-year period.

Of the 69 lawsuits against the department in which the county was required to make a payout over the last fiscal year, 17 resulted in awards greater than $100,000.

Of those, six cases involving in-custody death or injury accounted for $5.6 million in payouts -- more than half of the department's total civil liability for the past year.

"Lawsuits relating to in-custody injury and death that have resulted in significant payments to plaintiffs are not a relic of the past but rather point to an ongoing and continuing source of liability," according to the report. [snip]

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