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Deputy Cliques

LASD officials discuss the coc hearing on deputy subgroups 1024 512 SIB Staff

LASD officials discuss the coc hearing on deputy subgroups

Department Officials Discuss the Civilian Oversight commission’s Hearing on Deputy Subgroups and Cliques within the Sheriff’s Department

On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, Assistant Sheriff Holly Francisco and Chief April Tardy discussed developments and actions taken on alleged deputy subgroups and cliques within the Sheriff’s Department in response to allegations made by the Chair of the Civilian Oversight Commission, Sean Kennedy. 

In a news interview last week, Chair Sean Kennedy made the following statement: “It is time to hear from the Sheriff and Undersheriff Murakami and the other LASD officials who have the authority to address deputy gangs, but it appears have done nothing to do so.” 

His statement could not be further from the truth. Sheriff Villanueva has addressed and taken various steps to address the problem, build community trust, and counter the false narrative broadcasted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Civilian Oversight Commission (COC). Assistant Sheriff Holly Francisco presented factual evidence of Sheriff Villanueva’s steps to address deputy subgroups and cliques. 

On his very first day as the Sheriff, Villanueva removed the captain of the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station and replaced the entire command staff. Throughout 2019, 36 East Los Angeles Deputies were transferred to other stations, four were terminated, and 22 that were part of the Kennedy Hall investigation were suspended without pay. 

In February of 2020, Sheriff Villanueva successfully implemented a department policy that prohibits employees from participating in any clique or subgroup that promotes conduct that violates the rights of other employees or members of the public, the first sheriff in the department’s history to do so. Department training videos on the topic were created and distributed, personnel viewed these training materials, and mandatory briefings regarding cliques were conducted. 

Additionally, Sheriff Villanueva sponsored AB 958 legislation for Peace Officer Cliques with Assembly Member Mike Gipson; AB958 was signed into law on October 2021. The legislation is intended to tackle the issue of “gangs” among peace officers that might undermine the professional standards of policing among California’s law enforcement agencies. 

In August 2020, the Kennedy Hall investigation was completed, and Sheriff Villanueva held a press conference to announce the investigation results, including the termination and suspension of the deputies involved. In September 2020, Sheriff Villanueva sent a message to all personnel requesting their participation in the RAND Corporation study on deputy subgroups. Deputies were encouraged to complete the anonymous survey.  

In March 2021, a subgroups and cliques policy re-briefing email was sent to department members, including a reminder that all employees would be held accountable for any policy violation. Unit commanders had their personnel sign a copy of the policy stating that they read and understood it.

In February 2022, the department created a portal on the department’s website so that the public could report any evidence of deputy gangs or employee misconduct in the department (https://lasd.org/report-employee-misconduct/). 

After Assistant Sheriff Francisco outlined the Sheriff’s actions to dispel rumors of inaction, Chief April Tardy spoke about her experience implementing all the subgroup policies to encourage compliance. “In addition, we’re holding our supervisors accountable to monitor the workplace and encourage our deputies to continue to work hard, rebuild our community relationships and make good decisions,” said Chief April Tardy. 

“Our goal today was to truly show the amount of work we have done and negate the headlines that the Sheriff and the department have done nothing regarding the deputy subgroups and cliques. I think you can see that this is the farthest from the truth,” said Assistant Sheriff Holly Francisco. 

Contrary to what the media or some politicians claim, many policies have been implemented regarding deputy subgroups and cliques so the community can trust that law enforcement and personnel are held accountable.   

Press Conference Video

Press Conference material

PDF presentation

Sheriff Alex Villanueva is the FIRST Los Angeles County Sheriff to successfully implement a policy banning “deputy cliques.” The policy went into effect.
Sheriff alex villanueva graphic. portrait of sheriff in tan shirt black tie. Sheriff's uniform, on greeen background with the hall of justice building behind him faded in the back ground.
RAND CORPORATION REPORT ON DEPUTY SUBGROUPS 1024 249 SIB Staff

RAND CORPORATION REPORT ON DEPUTY SUBGROUPS

RELEASE OF RAND CORPORATION REPORT ON DEPUTY SUBGROUPS

September 10, 2021

Today the Board of Supervisors released a study performed by the RAND Corporation titled “Understanding Subgroups Within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: Community and Department Perceptions with Recommendations for Change.”  I received the 230-page study the same time everyone else did today, so I have not had an opportunity to read it.  I look forward to learning about their study, methodologies used, limitations, and seeing how their recommendations can inform the massive reform efforts already underway.  This is part of leading a learning organization devoted to serving the public safety needs of our community.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva

Sheriff Discusses Organizational Change and Transparency 1024 512 SIB Staff

Sheriff Discusses Organizational Change and Transparency

On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, Sheriff Alex Villanueva discussed the issue of “deputy cliques” and the steps he has taken to address the problem. Some politicians, their political appointees and the media have manipulated the deputy cliques’ narrative and it is important to separate perception from reality, and fiction from fact.

On his very first day as the Sheriff of Los Angeles County, he removed the Captain of the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station, replaced the entire command staff and transferred 36 deputies to other stations. Despite the pandemic and the civil unrest from last year, the Kennedy Hall investigation was completed and 26 employees were disciplined including 4 that were terminated.

In February of last year, he became the first Sheriff in Los Angeles County to successfully implement a policy addressing the issue of “deputy cliques”. A cliques’ video was produced and distributed within the department, all personnel signed “attestation forms,” and mandatory briefings regarding cliques were implemented. Additionally, Sheriff Villanueva sponsored AB 958 legislation for Peace Officer Cliques with Assembly Member Mike Gipson. Last week, the “Duty to Cooperate” video was distributed within the department. This video includes numerous other policies which are in the approval stage. “All of these reforms will further strengthen transparency and accountability as we continue to change the organizational culture,” said Sheriff Villanueva.

In addition, the use of tattoos by members of the department was addressed. In 2014, Los Angeles County Counsel concluded that a department cannot ban something that is a constitutionally protected speech and tattoos are a form of speech protected by the First and Fourth Amendments.

Sheriff Villanueva also changed a practice which had been in effect for more than half a century; the department is now releasing the names of personnel involved in shootings within 30 days, unless a credible specific threat is present. Contrary to what the media or some politicians claim, many policies have been implemented in regards to deputy cliques so that the community can assess the work of the department, trust law enforcement and the continued strengthening of relationships. 

NOTE:  To view the video played during the press conference of nurses who got tattoos, please follow this link:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/abc7.com/amp/covid19-coronavirus-nurses-tattoos/9534955/

LASD Sheriff's Department Logo
Deputy Clicks and Subgroups Policy 800 170 SIB Staff

Deputy Clicks and Subgroups Policy

Sheriff Alex Villanueva addresses policy on deputy cliques and subgroups With Department Members.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva is the FIRST Los Angeles County Sheriff to successfully implement a policy banning “deputy cliques.” The policy went into effect in February 2020, and a video reinforcing his message was recently released to the Department. All sworn Department members have been briefed and are being held accountable. This is what culture change within the organization looks like.

View LASD Policy

Sheriff Alex Villanueva discusses the LASD policy banning Deputy Cliques.
LA County Sheriff Zero Tolerance Policy On Deputy Cliques 1024 683 SIB Staff

LA County Sheriff Zero Tolerance Policy On Deputy Cliques

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva Announces A Zero Tolerance Policy On Deputy Cliques/Subgroups Engaging In Misconduct

On August 13, 2020, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announces 26 department employees will receive letters of intent to suspend or terminate as a result of their involvement in a fight between deputies that occurred in September of 2018 at Kennedy Hall in East Los Angeles.  Following that incident, allegations arose about a deputy clique within the Department at the East Los Angeles patrol station of a subgroup known as the “Bandidos.”  

Sheriff Villanueva re-emphasized his zero-tolerance stance on this very important issue for both the Department and the community.  For the first time in the Department’s history and at the direction of Sheriff Alex Villanueva, LASD has implemented a policy that addresses misconduct by cliques and subgroups, allowing the Department to take administrative action against employees who engage in this type of behavior.  

LASD Chief Matthew Burson, who oversees Professional Standards Division, announced the Department’s newly enacted deputy clique policy that holds deputies to a higher standard as it relates to misconduct by deputy cliques and/or subgroups.  Chief Burson explained that if a deputy violated department policy the corrective actions will range from suspensions to termination of employment.

Finally, Commander April Tardy, who oversees LASD’s Central Patrol Division, outlined the administrative investigation process and how these numerous investigations are also reviewed by outside agencies including the District Attorney’s Office and the Office of Inspector General.

Sheriff Villanueva said, “After 20 months in office, we have taken the legal and procedural steps necessary to ensure that we are holding our employees accountable to the rule of law, as I will not tolerate any group of employees who mistreats any member of the community or another member of the Department.”

If you have concerns regarding the above, share your voice.  You may contact your Board of Supervisors at the below:
 County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors

Hilda L. Solis
Supervisor, First District
Phone: (213) 974-4111
FirstDistrict@bos.lacounty.gov

Mark Ridley-Thomas
Supervisor, Second District
Phone: (213) 974-2222
MarkRidley-Thomas@bos.lacounty.gov

Sheila Kuehl
Supervisor, Third District
Phone: (213) 974-3333
Sheila@bos.lacounty.gov

Janice Hahn
Supervisor, Fourth District
Phone: (213) 974-4444
FourthDistrict@bos.lacounty.gov

Kathryn Barger – CHAIR
Supervisor, Fifth District
Phone: (213) 974-5555
kathryn@bos.lacounty.gov

Not sure who is your Supervisor?  Click Link to Find Out: http://bos.lacounty.gov/About-Us/Board-of-Supervisors