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LASD Ends Special 'Friends' Hiring Program

December 19, 2013  | 

Sheriff Lee Baca (Photo: LASD)
Sheriff Lee Baca (Photo: LASD)

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca maintained a special hiring program that granted preferential treatment to the friends and relatives of department officials, including some candidates who were given jobs despite having troubled histories, according to interviews and internal employment records reviewed by The Los Angeles Times.

The program, known as "Friends of the Sheriff," has been in existence for at least eight years. Some high-ranking sheriff's officials injected themselves into the vetting process to lobby for favored job candidates, records show.

Among those hired was a man convicted of sexual battery, according to court records. His friend — and contact with the department — was Baca's driver. Another hired under the program was arrested last week on a federal weapons charge in connection with the FBI's corruption investigation in the sheriff's jails. His tie to the agency was his brother, a deputy.

Sheriff's officials told the Los Angeles Times the special hiring program was being eliminated and a policy was being drafted to prohibit top brass from lobbying lower-level background investigators on behalf of job applicants.

Comments (11)

Displaying 1 - 11 of 11

AverageCop @ 12/19/2013 3:57 PM

This guy obviously has a huge ego. Five stars? Come on.

Bman @ 12/19/2013 4:43 PM

Averagecop, I don't think 5 stars is that big of deal. Its pretty common among Sheriffs who are technically the chief LEO of a county and being that they are elected, answer to no single boss and on top of that, L.A. County is pretty damn big. City Chiefs with 5 stars is not as common but what gets me is that he has a "driver" which is a joke. I hope his driver is actually a security detail member with a job to do more that just cart his ass around. The security detail should be of limited and realistic size if 3 maybe 4 guys at most given the Sheriff is an LEO himself. I dont care if its L.A. or New York, if your cop, you shouldnt be treating yourself like a CEO of a company. Such a program should have never existed to begin with.

KevCop @ 12/19/2013 4:57 PM

I agree, the stars no big deal. The program, A BIG DEAL!. This is the problem historically about elected Peace Officers. Here in AZ we have the same situation with Joe Arpaio. Not only in hiring but also once they do retire, he rehires them as "civilian" staff and places them in the same exact job as before and they still run sworn officers but as a civilian. Sheriff's should be appointed under a contract like any other police chief, and all chief;s should have some type of civil service protection so politicians can't muscle them around. They screw up they lose their job under civil service rules like the rest of us cops. Politics and policing never mix well. When I first started in Phx. PD the chief had civil service protection and was able to stand up to political winds. Yet for the past 20 years that has changed and the chiefs are nothing but politicians in uniform pleasing the city manager. This is obvious by the quality of the department now and the lack of support.

notmeofficer @ 12/19/2013 5:01 PM

Lasd here... fpk whd sub mal
Sheriff Baca has led our departnent from being the finest sheriffs department in the world to being subject to federal oversight. He has introduced so much PC garbage while having some of the most corrupt command staff in our history. His ego and lack of ability to give up the department is pulling every fine honest deputy into the sewer.
This program outcome was so easy to see ...quid pro quo... and blatant favoritism. Take your medicine sir... resign and allow a real deputy like bob olmsted to recover the honor of our department
Baca.... you have allowed our badges to be tarnished .... retire...please... before we become like lapd

Retired Chief @ 12/19/2013 5:15 PM

I too am former LASD (FPK among other assignments) I "worked" with Baca many years ago. He was an its all about him kind of guy then and clearly nothing has changed. LASD needs a house cleaning and removing Baca (preferably by federal indictment) is a good place to start

Retired Chief @ 12/19/2013 5:15 PM

I too am former LASD (FPK among other assignments) I "worked" with Baca many years ago. He was an its all about him kind of guy then and clearly nothing has changed. LASD needs a house cleaning and removing Baca (preferably by federal indictment) is a good place to start

John @ 12/19/2013 6:33 PM

Gals, Guys I would'nt count on his retirement any time soon.
Even if he gets dirt on him, his kooky, but powerful scientologist croanies will more then likely pull favors and through money at his issues.
In the end he'll be squeaky clean.
Just sa'in

107 @ 12/20/2013 1:25 PM

This is one of the problems when you have an ELECTED leader of a law enforcement agency

mike @ 12/20/2013 5:10 PM

In the military, 5-star rank is reserved for only the most competent admirals and generals who are in charge of a theater of operations consisting of thousands of troops. Clowns that wear 5-star rank are truly egotistical and think very highly of themselves. I've seen small-town chiefs strut around with 3 and 4 stars. What clowns!

John @ Iowa retired @ 12/21/2013 1:36 PM

Five stars isn't the problem. Sounds like it's the guy wearing them. To all of those who are true professionals in Law Enforcement, keep up the good work despite what others do that bring discredit to the profession. We must not loose sight of why we signed on.

Lou Enrique @ 12/27/2013 8:19 PM

A self corrupted, good ol boy club agency!

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