Supervisors grill probation chief

first_img Molina said several recent escapes from the Juvenile Halls and camps have involved similar problems. “Someone goes to the dentist and two youths escape,” Molina said. “It’s a constant theme on these escapes. It’s always a policy violation. The last time, someone left the keys on the counter and the escapee took the keys. Is there any accountability going on here?” Higa said the department has organizational problems and he plans over the next six months to put more people into positions where they can hold others accountable. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky asked Higa if anyone listens to his directives. “The only way you can make them worth anything is if there is a consequence for not following them,” Yaroslavsky said. “This was not a financial issue. That’s become the default excuse around here in every department when somebody screws up, when somebody is incompetent or asleep on the job.” Troy Anderson, (213) 974-8985 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! After hearing promises Tuesday that several employees will be fired for negligence in the escape of four teens from Sylmar Juvenile Hall, Los Angeles County supervisors questioned the management of the Probation Department. Probation Department chief Paul Higa told the board that an investigation into last week’s escape found that several employees had violated policy by leaving the inmates unsupervised. The youths kicked out a wall panel and escaped onto the grounds and over the fence of the complex, Higa said. They later carjacked a motorist and forced him to take them to South Los Angeles. Probation officers caught one of the teens last Friday, but the three others remain at large. “It’s my view that the negligence demonstrated both at the levels of the manager, supervisor and line staff violated the fundamental public trust … and probably even more importantly resulted in a serious breach of security that creates both harm and threatens the public,” said Higa, who vowed to fire those involved. Higa said a similar lack of supervision occurred at the Compton Courthouse on March 15, when sheriff’s deputies left three youths in a holding tank, where a 12-year-old boy was sexually assaulted. After hearing the reports, the supervisors expressed concerns that employees in the Probation Department and other agencies ignore direct orders from their supervisors, as well as board policies. “Fundamentally, there is something wrong here,” Supervisor Gloria Molina said. “Is it just one bad apple or are the policies so overlooked in this department that people just say, ‘Oh here is another policy?’ Things became a standard because of the way the department manages itself. “We pass motions and then look for them in the departments only to find out they never even heard of them, let alone implemented them.” last_img read more

December 28, 2019 0