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LASD Deputies: Jail Co-workers Formed Gang-Like Clique

May 05, 2011  | 

Two Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies who were allegedly assaulted by other deputies at a holiday party last year have filed a lawsuit, claiming the department encourages lawlessness and violence among its jail employees.

About half a dozen deputies allegedly assaulted two others and punched a female deputy who tried to intervene in the face during a holiday gathering at a Montebello banquet hall in December.

The deputies who were described as the aggressors worked on the third floor of Men's Central Jail, where they were believed to have formed an aggressive clique known to flash gang-like hand signs.

Deputies at sheriff substations typically create mascots such as the Devils or Vikings. Logos are printed on T-shirts and other items. Usually the rivalries are harmless fun, however these jail deputies have begun to emulate the inmates they supervise, says POLICE gang expert Richard Valdemar.

"The department is recruiting too many gang-like kids," says Valdemar, a retired LASD sergeant and gang investigator. "They tend to emulate the people they're supervising in the jail."

The deputies have been known to tattoo the back of their necks with "3000," a reference to the jail's third floor. Deputies who work on the second floor tattoo their necks with "2000."

By Paul Clinton

Source: Los Angeles Times

Related: L.A. County Sheriff Deputies Suspended After Holiday Brawl

Comments (18)

Displaying 1 - 18 of 18

Rich Yell @ 5/5/2011 5:51 PM

Unreal! How are these scumbags allowed to wear a badge? I guess L.A. County hires anyone to be correctional deputy. These individuals couldn't even be security guards in my State. What a disgrace to criminal justice professionals, all first responders, and a disgrace to the badge.

Steve in LA @ 5/5/2011 6:19 PM

The Sheriff's Department is hiring deputies who have prior felony arrests, misdemeanor convictions, gang ties and other problems. These problems seem endemic, even reaching the command level. As an example, during the holiday celebration/ thug fest, a LASD captain intentionally stood in the doorway, preventing the Montebello Police Officers from entering the banquet room.

It is sometimes difficult to determine who should be behind bars, the deputies or inmates. I hope the injured deputies, the ones who acted professionally, win their lawsuit against the LASD. It might be the only way to turn the department around. If Sheriff Baca spent more time leading his department, instead of taking gifts (See the Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2011), the department might be a more professional organization.

usmc_guy @ 5/5/2011 6:27 PM

This is not new, been a snake pit for many years too bad the professionals get drug down by the jail deputies.

DJ @ 5/6/2011 8:40 AM

It's understandable to have some harmless rivalries between substations and police v firefighters but this is unprofessional. But then again it not unheard of to randomly test officers out there and have them come back positive for drugs.... someone needs to reform the system out there.

DJ @ 5/6/2011 10:13 AM

Nothing really new! I also seem to remember the old LASD Firestone Sta. had not only Viking tattoos, but it wasn't unusual to see a few swastika tats. So, your point?

gb @ 5/6/2011 2:38 PM

LASD does not hire anyone with prior felonies. The "victims" at that party were the ones who started that fight. There are no deputies with their floor tattooed on their necks. If you are law enforcement professionals posting on these comments, you might want to consider that media outlets have a habit of twisting facts in order to make a story, and check your own facts before attempting to portray them as the truth instead of playing telephone with nonsense. Not justifying the individual actions, however people should probably consider the liberal medias past history of trying to make police look like idiots before perpetuating the rumor mill. LASD deputies are among the hardest working, most proactive deputies in the world and the actions of a few should not take away from that fact.

gb @ 5/6/2011 2:40 PM

PS - this magazine should be ashamed for posting this retarded story. This is obviously a money grab from these turds.

The magazine is a rag. @ 5/6/2011 4:22 PM

Please. This story is not even close to being accurate. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has been one of the nations leading law enforcement agencies for decades. This magazine should investigate and write its own stories and not just cut and paste hatchet jobs from other publications.

critter852 @ 5/6/2011 6:36 PM

well said, gb... i can't believe how quickly we are to throw each other under the bus these days. what the hell happened to the line; and what happened to not drawing conclusions until you have all the facts from BOTH sides, not just what is printed in the newspapers?

Capt David @ 5/8/2011 6:45 AM

Fights among cops at parties are hardly new or newsworthy. I can remember as a young LA deputy attending many parties where other area cops attended and I can attest the departmental rivalry extended to fist fights--this was in the 60's and 70's when I partied a lot. When one of my buddies was invited to step outside and fight the challenger, an LAPD sgt told his friend that if he started to loose, to shoot the deputy. There were no gang affiliations. Well, we were in the SF Valley.

It wasn't at every party but when you get a bunch of young cops who are drinking you should expect trouble..

SS @ 5/13/2011 9:45 AM

It's sad how some law enforcement individuals find it offensive when someone tells the truth....YES many deputies have tattoos maybe not on their neck but let's try their ankles. Growing up in FIRESTONE and working in their environment half of it is true...I respect all the loyal ones and the ones I've known since childhood...but honestly my theory is the difference between deputies and street thugs is that deputies are legal gangsters while street thugs are illegal gangsters. This holiday party is not the first...try off training parties...911 parties...Baker 2 Vegas...and the funny part is that at all these events some brass do attend but look the other way.

Mark Tarte @ 5/24/2011 12:57 PM

Unprofessional at the least, but it sounds like they are nothing but but punk thugs with a badge.

former dep @ 9/29/2011 7:08 AM

Hmm.... Having worked at the CJ and the 2000 floor... I can tell you first ha.d that this story is 100% credible. If you want to pretend that this type of activity doesn't happen then fuck off. The dept does have some of the hardest working deps in the world but they do have some of the dumbest... Ie... Vikings, regulators, and all the other dumb Ass clicks the department has... Even the capt was punched in the face at this party. If your defending this incident your probably apart of the problem and refuse to acknowledge it.

Ken Camp @ 1/19/2012 11:32 AM

What a bunch of liars. The L.A. sheriffs are scum. Always were and always will be.

Dep @ 11/12/2013 7:47 PM

2013 and a couple deputies who were investigated for all those assaults on inmates are still working that floor representing "3000 boys"! The department not doing crap about it.

GI Joe @ 10/5/2014 3:20 PM

Bunch of cowards. How about all those LA County police/ OPS cops agency the absorbed. The high majority were are corrupt and the LA times mentioned many of their crimes including several child molestors and yet they were still hired as deputies. Some are sgts now. Unreal! Gives all us in law enforcement a bad rep.

Stevenb @ 10/12/2014 4:37 PM

Read my book, "The Firestone Syndrome" about L.A. County Sheriff's Dept in the 60's and 70's then you'll understand about the "tattoos" and cliques. I worked Firestone as a Deputy and as a Lieutenant and did an investigation at CJ where deputies were actually drawing down on each other in the parking lot. A lot to see here.

Bullethead @ 11/30/2014 10:21 PM

I worked at Firestone a number of years ago before it was absorbed into Century Station. We had some of the best deputies on the dept. at the time, no doubt. Not because they were smarter than anyone else, but many actually were motivated to do a good job and cared about what they were doing. It wasn't just a job, it was our lives. You didn't put in for Firestone unless you were ready to work, fight, and shoot. And yes, some had tattoos. It was a pride thing back then, nothing more. BUT, DJ, no one that I knew had swastikas.

LASD isn't perfect, but it is a hell of a lot better than most agencies out there. Try working for other depts. I've worked for two since leaving FPK and it goes no where but down hill after that.

Steve, I did hear that it was a lot crazier at FPK in the 60's and 70's as far as the behavior of the deputies. But I also heard your book is garbage. If I get a chance I'll get a copy of your book and form my own opinion though.

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