Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station front door.

OIG Report: SCV Sheriff’s Station ranks 2nd for commendations, 3rd for complaints

The latest report by the Office of the Inspector General shows the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station elicited the second-highest number of commendations from the public and, tied for third place for receiving the most number of complaints.

On Friday, the county’s OIG issued its review of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Reform and Oversight Efforts for the period between July and September of this year.

Palmdale Sheriff Station had the most number of commendations and the most number of personnel complaints, with 30 and 20, respectively.

The SCV Sheriff’s Station received 24 commendations from the public, second only to Palmdale.

The SCV station also ranked third among LASD stations having received 13 personnel complaints, the same number received by the station in Compton, out of 62 stations, bureaus or personnel divisions listed in the report.

Behind Palmdale, but only slightly, as the station receiving the most number of personnel complaints, was the Lancaster station, with 19.

Feedback 

Feedback from the public, good or bad, is a positive indicator, said Stephanie English, spokeswoman for Supervisor Kathryn Barger, representing Los Angeles County’s 5th District, which includes the SCV.

“Capt. (Robert) Lewis is always encouraging people to call,” she said Friday. “If they have any comment, he wants to hear it.  It allows for an open dialogue where people feel comfortable calling or coming in.”

 SCV Station only benefits from stepped up interaction, she said.

“When a person can talk about it, that person feels heard,” English said late Friday afternoon. “And, the deputy has an opportunity to learn.”

The OIG report also revealed Friday that the SCV Sheriff’s Station and the Court Services Central station each elicited four “service complaints,” the second-highest number of among all the LASD stations.

The stations that logged the most number of service complaints were Temple City Station and the station in East L.A., each reporting six complaints filed.

Complaints, commendations

This is how the OIG defines complaints and commendations:

• Commendation: an external communication of appreciation for and/or approval of service provided by LASD members;

• Service Complaint: an external communication of dissatisfaction with LASD service, procedure or practice, not involving employee misconduct.

• Personnel Complaint: an external allegation of misconduct, either a violation of law or LASD policy, against any member of the LASD.

OIG staffers noted in their latest report that it is possible for an LASD employee to get a service complaint and a personnel complaint for the same incident.

The LASD units that received no complaints whatsoever were the Human Trafficking Bureau, the South Patrol Administration Unit, Office of the Assistant Sheriff, the Fraud & Cyber Crimes Bureau, Aero Bureau, the Internal Crime Investigation Bureau, Training Bureau, Sheriff Information Bureau, Scientific Services Bureau and a bureau called TRAP.

The OIG received 146 new complaints in the third quarter of 2019 from members of the public, prisoners, prisoners’ family members and friends, community organizations and county agencies regarding conditions of confinement in county jails. 

Confinement complaints

According to their report, each complaint was reviewed by OIG staff. Forty-four of the 146 complaints were related to conditions of confinement inside county jails.

Of the 44 complaints emerging from confinement situations, OIG ranked them as:

  • One complaint for rude and abusive behavior
  • One complaint for use of force
  • Two complaints filed over “personnel issues” reflecting no discernable subject 
  • Seven complaints over medical or dental issues
  • Four over issues of mental health services
  • Three for housing 

Field complaints

The 26 remaining complaints filed during confinement were over concerns about things such as air conditioning, plumbing and access to items, such as underwear and personal hygiene products.

When it came to itemizing all the complaints filed by people “out in the field” who were not in custody, the reasons — with rude and abusive behavior topping the list — included:

  • Failed to take action, 6
  • Rude and abusive behavior, 8
  • Use of force, 3
  • Unlawful arrest, 3
  • Unlawful search, 1
  • Unlawful detention, 3
  • Off duty conduct, 6

The OIG investigators found six personnel complaints filed for no apparent reason, defined as “no discernable subject.”

[email protected]  661-287-5527  On Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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