Sunday, August 24, 2014 – 12:00 p.m.
Just when you think things might start getting better. They don’t.
It seems the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department couldn’t buy good luck these days.
Like the Los Angeles Police Department, negative newspaper headlines keep broadsiding the sheriff’s department at almost every turn.
In addition, several low-key Civil Service Commission termination appeals have went against the department of late.
This Sunday morning, the department is getting hammered for arresting a 25-year old woman for allegedly being under the influence of methampetamine.
The problem? The woman is classified in the category of handicapped special needs person, who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, and was likely not under the influence.
A story published in the Victorville Daily Press says the woman was carted around in the back of a unit, while deputies searched for more potential arrest targets, all as a part of an active area narcotics sweep. Failure to transport an arrestee directly to a jail or hospital is a policy violation.
The new incident comes on the heels of the incustody death of Dante Parker, who died after being tasered multiple times. Parker as it turns out was a press operator for the aforementioned Daily Press newspaper.
A well-liked employee of a local newspaper??? Talk about bad luck!
The county’s three main newspapers are hammering away on the Parker incident, publishing multiple stories since his death. Now the NAACP is demanding a federal justice department probe.
Add the well-publicized incident involving inmate abuse at the West Valley Detention Center, and it’s very easy for one to conclude that things aren’t going well for the department currently.
The recent opening of a local ACLU office on Hospitality Lane in San Bernardino is another dark cloud on the horizon. One of the stated reasons for the establishment of the office is law enforcement practices.
In addition to the ongoing press debacle, the department has been on the receiving end of some rather embarassing, and yet serious, losses before the civil service commission hearing officers. Most of the cases are being impacted by what is known as “disparate treatment” claims.
Let’s say, without getting into specific cases, that a deputy is fired for lying/untruthfulness. The deputy, in question, appeals his or her termination to the Civil Service Commission. During the actual hearing, evidence is admitted proving that other department members have been caught lying, but not fired. Meaning the department in essence has established a new punishemnt standard for lying.
The terminated officer gets their employment restored with back pay.
The impacted officers, with the untruthfulness conduct in their history, are usually precluded from serving in any position requiring their testimony under oath (e.g. desk work or corrections positions). The preclusion usually lasts seven years or more. Then the affected officer can legally be deemed rehabilitated.
The affected officer’s gets tagged with the designation “Brady Cop”, referring to the federal case on the subject Brady v. Maryland.
The overtunred terminations have resulted in the county paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay.
Sources say certain members of Sheriff John McMahon’s executive staff have been calling on him to start cleaning up the department by rightfully demanding accountability within his handpicked command staff.
So far it appears those well-justified calls have sadly fell on deaf ears.
The vast majority of San Bernardino County deputies are stellar employees. It’s unfortunate the department has handicapped itself.