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Newark NJ isn't alone with it's internal problems in law enforcement. The Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department is undergoing some scrutiny of it's own. There are allegations of excessive force and violence on the part of the deputies. But these allegations aren't from inmates, or concerned citizens. They are from other deputies. A lawsuit has been filed by deputies against deputies. The accusers allege that the department has allowed deputies in the jailhouse ranks to behave like the gang-bangers they guard.
It was an incident at a department Christmas party that seems to have brought this to a head. There was some 'trash talking' and some displays of gang-like hand signs among the guests that ultimately ended up in a physical fight, or as some would term it a 'Beat Down'.
Some blame this mentality on the length of time that rookie deputies are kept working in the jail environment when they are initially hired. The practice was that they would work in the jails for the first two years and gain some experience without being able to rely on weapons as well as some perspective on the criminal element per se. However due to hiring freezes and so forth, the two year assignments have turned in to three, four and sometimes more years of jail duty. Young, inexperienced men and women continuously exposed to hardened criminals in a grim correctional facility can be strongly influenced. However, Sheriff Lee Baca does not necessarily agree that there is an excuse for the behavior and actions of his younger employees. He is quoted as saying 'I don't think it's the environment of the jail that's a problem. It's a failure to follow the department's core values.'