LASD Excessive Force Claims Continue Their Decline
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has come a long way since the scandalous tenure of Lee Baca. For the second year in a row, excessive force claims against LASD are down by a sizeable margin.
Claims plunged by 23 percent in the fiscal year that ended last June 30, falling from 643 to 491. The number was 781 in the fiscal year that ended in June 2015.
County Risk Manager Steve Robles attributed the decline to better practices at the Sheriff’s Department. For example, field commanders are now personally involved in developing plans to reduce excessive force and must present those plans to the board of supervisors and county risk managers, said Robles.
"I think you have more ownership now," he said.
Under the leadership of Sheriff Jim McDonnell, multiple facets of the department are involved in creating a “corrective action plan” whenever there is a legal claim, settlement, or jury verdict in the amount of $100,000 or more.
"It’s a 100 percent departure" from days past when a single lieutenant from the department’s risk management bureau handled that responsibility, said Capt. Scott Johnson.
LASD reforms are a work in progress. Legal claims against the department still cost the county more than claims against any other county agency. Los Angeles spent $68 million settling lawsuits and verdicts against LASD last year.