Saturday, May 28, 2005

Who Wants to Be a Deputy Sheriff in the O.C.?


In the fine tradition of Barney Fife, Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona appointed 86 campaign contributors (Sheriff is an elected post in California), friends, and family members as reserve Deputy Sheriffs, giving them badges and -- a bit scarier -- the authority to arrest.  None of the reserve deputies, who are all volunteers, had to undergo a criminal background check, and the state Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training removed them from its database of peace officers once the lack of a background investigation was revealed.  A Los Angeles Times story (here) quotes Carona as stating, "Like any organization, the first group of individuals we reach out to for support and assistance is friends and family of the members of the organization."  I would have thought law enforcement training might be a more appropriate criterion for appointing someone who carries the authority of the county sheriff's office, but maybe I'm old fashion.  It does remind me of the time when Richard Nixon gave Elvis Presley a badge as a "Federal Agent-at-Large" for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (the predecessor of the DEA), which became one of the King's prized possessions.  Didn't Nixon have a house in Orange County? (ph)

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