Lee Baca

In this Oct. 3, 2012 file photo L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca holds a press conference at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles to respond to the findings and recommendations of the Citizens’ Comission on Jail Violence. (Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

By Christina Villacorte, Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 12/18/13, 5:50 PM PST |

It was not only the Sheriff’s Department that absorbed troublesome officers from Los Angeles County’s now defunct police force despite knowing about their previous misconduct – several other county agencies did the same, including those charged with public safety.

At least some of the officers taken in by the Sheriff’s Department have committed additional wrongdoing since being hired in 2010, said Asst. Sheriff Todd Rogers.

“Some are facing discipline,” he said Wednesday, declining to go into detail. “Some were serious, and some were minor.”

Rogers explained when the Board of Supervisors eliminated the Office of Public Safety, most of their officers – responsible for patrolling county hospitals and parks – were foisted onto the Sheriff’s Department.

“These folks were civil service-protected and, as I understand it, they had to be given a job somewhere in the county system,” Rogers said.

In a letter to the board Monday, Sheriff Lee Baca said he had delegated the final hiring decisions to his second-in-command, then-Undersheriff Larry Waldie, now retired.

Rogers said it was Waldie who made the “unilateral decision” to hire 280 officers from OPS in 2010 – including 84 officers who failed the department’s hiring standards.

“They had administrative problems while in the OPS,” Rogers said. “Some had various types of criminal misconduct, allegations of dishonesty.”

“(But) there was some pressure at the time, according to Mr. Waldie, from the union and the county bureaucracy, to hire as many people as he could.”

Calls to Waldie were not immediately returned. According to Rogers, however, he drew the line at some point.

“I do know that we rejected 55 former OPS officers,” Rogers said. “Mr. Waldie made a decision to hire 84 who didn’t meet standards, but even he decided that those other 55 were too problematic to even take a chance on.”

Rogers said the 55 ended up in the departments of Children and Family Services, Fire, Probation, Mental Health, Public Social Services, Animal Control, Registrar-Recorder and Chief Executive Office.

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