February 15, 2009


Again another classic Sheriff Baca management blunder. I guess all he was looking for was some quick private cash for some new sheriff toys or the hole in the CALPERS fund. Either way bad move. All the LASD TV show has done is lower morale even more among recruits and showcase how poorly they are trained. Great management decision right? All the show will be is Exhibit 1 in the upcoming taser trials.

So do you think there is any connection between the poor training and poor quality recruits they are getting and the taser incidents and shootings and all the other problems? Hmmm. I guess all they are interested in doing is hiring incompetents as fast as possible and giving them a gun and Taser. (FYI thats over $70,000.00 a year to start and that does not include the best healthcare and pension in CA)

Who is running the Sheriff's department? We can only hope when Baca finally calls its quits that who ever replaces him is not more incompetent.

Baca urged to cancel ‘Academy’

Fox reality show humiliates recruits and violates their privacy, report finds. Sheriff’s spokesman defends show, which has provided $250,000 from licensee fees and profits from the first two seasons.

By Richard Winton
December 06, 2008

When Sheriff Lee Baca agreed to let Fox showcase the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy in a reality TV show, he won praise for generating more revenue for the county and raising the department’s profile.

But after two seasons, the department’s Office of Independent Review is calling on Baca to cancel “The Academy” because it subjects young recruits to on-air humiliation, invasion of their personal privacy, harassment and threats to their safety.

“The show worked to the detriment of the trainees,” Michael Gennaco, who serves as the department’s independent monitor, told The Times. “They didn’t have a real chance to say no to being televised. The show featured some of their personal lives and then people called them out as they worked in the jails because they recognize them from TV. It ended up being a real problem.”

Gennaco said in his report that most of recruits who took part in the show said they would have preferred not to have been involved. Some recruits interviewed by Gennaco said they felt the show was a source of humiliation, with its tendency to focus on those struggling to meet the demands of the 18-week training.

“The show was dominated by scenes of drill instructors screaming at recruits” for such infractions as not polishing shoes, not tucking in their shirts or being careless with equipment, Gennaco said in the report.

The show also showed embarrassing moments when recruits were kicked out of the academy.

Gennaco also expressed concern that criminals were identifying deputies after watching the show. “Some of the recruits who were recognized by inmates reported having a sick feeling at the moment of this recognition because they believed the inmate saw them as vulnerable,” he said in the report.

A spokesman for Baca defended the show, saying that the sheriff disagrees with Gennaco and would like to see a third season filmed.

“The sheriff thinks it is worthwhile because of the transparency that the show provides. It is vital for the public to see the rigors a trainee goes through to become a deputy sheriff,” said Steve Whitmore, Baca’s spokesman. [LAAG; oh it shows transparency alright...like walking outside without your pants on; not what we had in mind when we speak of transparency]

“In this day and age, law enforcement needs to get used to it, when they do their job it is going to be television. As the sheriff likes to tell deputies, ‘When you are out on the street you’re doing your job on CNN.’ ” [ LAAG: too bad the "taser" deputies did not remember that]

The sheriff, he said, believes the issues raised by Gennaco can be addressed.

The report found the show also brought benefits, including boosting the department’s profile nationally, giving the public insight into policing and generating $250,000 from licensee fees and profits from the first two seasons. [LAAG: that barely covers the junket to the Obama inauguration]

County supervisors asked Gennaco to examine the TV show as well as a series of dire state inspections that led Baca to close the academy to new trainees in May for 30 days while problems were addressed.

Roxane Marquez, spokeswoman for county Supervisor Gloria Molina, said Gennaco’s audit “mirrors the supervisor’s concerns from the moment she heard about the show… . It’s sad that the supervisor’s concerns are now a reality.”

State inspectors had dubbed the show an inappropriate and unnecessary distraction that disrupted the learning environment and forced the Sheriff’s Department to change the one scenario of one test after it was broadcast.

Far from the gold standard training program featured on the Fox reality television show, the academy was nearly decertified as a state accredited facility to train police officers earlier this year because it was so poorly run, according to Gennaco’s report.

He found serious deficiencies in training and testing methods that were the result of attempts to fulfill the sheriff’s goal to train 1,000 new recruits, and an arrogant academy management that failed to listen to concerns raised by state inspectors since the fall 2007.

At the heart of the issues was management’s sloppiness with record keeping, and instructors who gave recruits answers to tests, allowed trainees to graduate without taking the required physical conditioning classes and allowing recruits to retake tests until they passed.

“The department’s hiring pushed in the past two years undoubtedly placed pressure on the academy – explicit or implied – to graduate recruits. The testing violations noted in the [state] report are partially explained by this atmosphere of accelerated hiring,” Gennaco wrote.

Although improvements have been made across the board in recent months, problems remained.

In an October 2008 class, Gennaco noted, 41 recruits had to undergo remedial training for failing the initial weapons test. All but five passed the retesting and became deputies, he stated.

Winton is a times staff writer

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA
A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™

click here to receive LAAG posts by email

No comments: