SBCO Sheriff Badge

Friday, January 25, 2013 – 10:00 a.m.

Another embarrassing incident for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Another Deputy alleged to have had sex with a inmate. This time at the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center in Devore. The incident follows a similar event made public just a week or so before.

Combine this developing news, with a series of Deputy-Explorer sex scandals from the past two years, and it just doesn’t look too good at this point.

Discipline and organizational attitudes flow from the top down and something has to change.

Newly-appointed Sheriff-Coroner John McMahon has two important tasks he must face if he’s to be successful.

Those tasks being; re-establish discipline in the ranks; and keeping District Attorney Michael Ramos at bay from sinking his claws into him.

I’ve done some checking recently and it looks as if McMahon still has pretty much no significant baggage. He’s a family man without any known predisposition for womanizing, and an essentially good reputation and record.

McMahon needs to step-up and deal with discipline lapses and make it clear that those who seriously screw up will be dealt with. Otherwise favors and deals come into play. In my opinion his two predecessors, Gary Penrod and Rod Hoops, focused more on covering-up mainly for the purpose of avoiding bad press and embarrassment to the agency.

It’s no secret both men were compromised, and it cost them dearly.

Penrod exited with two years left in his last term, while Hoops departed two years into his first term, in office.

Deal making on illegal conduct unfortunately involves the local DA. And, in Ramos, both sheriff’s found someone willing to play give and take.

A form of give and take likely held over their heads.

Ramos likes to use the phrase “being on the team”. Sources say Ramos is working hard to bring McMahon on the team.

The recent example of give and take is what is commonly known as the P.O.S.T. scandal involving the falsification of training records for either increased compensation or the avoidance of state mandated certification training. Seven current and former department members were served-up and recklessly indicted out of the incident. One defendant, Retired Captain Bill Maddox, who didn’t commit any crime, has already been dismissed. A second defendant dismissal is likely, due to insufficient evidence. Dozens of other violators were handled administratively. Sources say, as a part of a deal, the statute of limitations was allowed to lapse on all other criminal violators.

Sources say Maddox has been weighing a lawsuit, but is hesitant because his kid works for the department.

For McMahon, this type of deal-cutting can’t happen. He should privately ask his two predecessors how they feel about their poor decisions and dark dealings with Ramos and he’ll likely get an interesting answer.

That is, if he hasn’t already.