LASD sheriff creates new office with goal of eradicating deputy gangs

Sheriff Robert Luna explained the motivation to create the department came out of a desire to create more trust and accountability

By Emily Holshouser
Los Angeles Daily News

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna announced on Wednesday, Feb. 15 that his department will create what he hopes will be a solution to decades of gangs and violent policing in the department he took over last November – the Office of Constitutional Policing.

In a news conference, Luna explained that the motivation to create the department came out of a desire to create more trust and accountability, which he said will in turn reduce crime. The department will collaborate with the Undersheriff, the Civilian Oversight Commission and the Inspector General to address decades of allegations of inhumane conditions in LA County jails and violent gangs of deputies at several Sheriff’s stations.

“The reality is that this department faces multiple challenges,” Luna told reporters. “The existence of deputy gangs and lawsuits cost our taxpayers millions in settlements and judgements.”

Director Eileen Decker, who was appointed by Luna to head the new department, also co-chaired Luna’s transition team. A previous U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, covering LA and six other counties, she also sat on the Los Angeles Police Commission and was a lecturer at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

“There will be a team of people – attorneys, investigators, auditors, compliance individuals, all involved in these efforts,” Decker said. “We will be working in unison for the entire department, as opposed to a piecemeal approach.”

“The Director and Office will play an important role in eradicating deputy gangs, complying with consent decrees and improving policies, procedures and operations to ensure the department is engaging in constitutional practices,” a Sheriff’s Department statement said.

One of the new office’s significant goals will be to bring the entire department into compliance with a litany of consent decrees and settlement agreements that critics said have gone ignored for many years. Previous LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whom Luna replaced, denied deputy gangs were active.

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