This is the first in a series of blogs which will discuss the staffing problems at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the corresponding detrimental effects on deputies and the residents they protect in both unincorporated areas and contract cities.
In 2010, to eliminate overtime and cut its budget, the Baca administration implemented a program that they termed "Cadre of Administrative Reserve Personnel." Known as "CARP," this program removed detectives and administrative personnel from their assignments for 20% of their work week, and reassigned them to work mandatory patrol, jail or court positions. In short, it was a decision to "Rob Peter to pay Paul."
The problems with CARP were felt very quickly in investigations. Detectives reassigned to patrol, jail or court functions could not work on their cases, and even when they returned to their cases after CARPing, their investigations were interrupted with court appearances because of arrests they made while on patrol. Victims were not contacted, investigative leads went stale, search warrants were not obtained or served, and victims were frustrated.
The backlog of unsolved cases that were handled at the station level, such as burglary, robbery and assault, exploded. The Los Angeles Times
reported in 2010
, just a few short months after implementation of CARP, the number of open cases at the station level soared from 6,000 to 10,000.
At the sheriff's headquarters, the effects were so detrimental to major crimes units, such as homicide and child abuse, that those detectives were soon exempted from the program.
Contract cities also complained to the county regarding this change. In their contracts, the cities pay for specific law enforcement positions to serve their community. With area detectives being reassigned to patrol duties, the cities were paying for services, but not receiving them. Frustrated cities and frustrated members of the Board of Supervisors in unincorporated areas pushed back against the department's cut in services. Finally, in 2013, the Board of Supervisors voted to allocate more funds to the Sheriff's Department to hire more deputies and eliminate CARP.
In the next blog, we will discuss the real impacts to the public due to CARP.