Police

L.A. Sheriff's Dept. Acknowledges Hiring Officers It Shouldn't Have

About 80 people with troubled backgrounds were handed badges

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Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials in 2010 hired about 80 people they shouldn't have because of serious problems in their backgrounds, a department official acknowledged Tuesday.

Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers said he was troubled by the department's preliminary findings and plans on "making some swift changes."

The reforms were prompted by a Times investigation earlier this month that found the agency hired dozens of officers from a disbanded county police force even though sheriff's investigators had found significant misconduct in their backgrounds. Internal agency files showed that jobs were given to officers who accidentally fired their weapons, had sex at work, committed theft, solicited prostitutes or falsified records.

The department is now evaluating what to do with the problem hires. 

Rogers said sheriff's officials are considering terminating some but likely won't be able to legally fire employees for misconduct that sheriff's officials knew about when they hired them. What's more realistic, he said, is moving the problem hires to less sensitive positions, giving them more training and putting them on administrative monitoring to limit future misconduct.