LA County sheriff to propose reforms in 30-year plan

LOS ANGELES - In a 30-year strategic plan he hopes to finalize next month, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca intends to propose sweeping reforms, from bonuses for deputies who cut crime to doubling the number of sheriff's substations near libraries, restaurants and movie theaters.

The plan has been in the works since Baca took office two years ago, spurred by complaints of excess force and sexual harassment in the department and a corruption scandal that led to federal intervention in the Los Angeles Police Department.

Some elements have already been made public, including a new emphasis on hiring and promoting women and a planned Office of Independent Review with civilian lawyers and retired judges to oversee deputy discipline.

Other highlights include:

- Expanding substance abuse and domestic violence rehabilitation programs.

- Upgrading jails to increase individual cells for violent convicts.

- Creating a new jail for pregnant women within the Pitchess Detention Center outside Santa Clarita.

- Building regional centers where visitors could use computers and video screens to contact inmates elsewhere.

- Improving computer links to national crime databases and the LAPD.

Special commanders would be appointed in the areas of service, work force, finance and facilities to see the ''LASD2'' vision through, Baca said.

''We plan, literally, making the L.A. Sheriff's Department more effective,'' Baca said. ''That's the major, major LASD2 objective.'' Baca estimated the 30-year cost of the plan at $1 billion; the department has an annual budget of $1.4 billion, ultimately controlled by the county.

The Los Angeles sheriff's department is the largest in the nation, providing law enforcement services to more than 2 million residents spread over 3,161 square miles. The department has some 16,000 sworn and civilian employees.


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