LA Sheriff's Gangs Are a Persistent Problem, Study Finds

A new survey of Los Angeles County Sheriff's personnel reveals the prevalence of deputy gangs, including some that glorify violence and aggressive policing.

All LASD sworn personnel received a survey from the Rand Corp. which was commissioned to conduct the study into secret LASD fraternities in 2019. Of the 1,608 deputies and supervisors who responded anonymously, 16% said they had personally been invited to join a clique. 28% said supervisors did not consider the fraternities to be problematic and nearly one-third said belonging to a clique bestowed special privileges at work.

"Our research suggests that several of these groups were still actively adding members at the time of our interviews," according to the report.

It appears the phenomenon is growing. According to the report, cliques like the Banditos and the Executioners which are said to promote violence are still operating and recruiting in spite of reforms.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva has downplayed the existence of gangs within his department, but also implemented a policy prohibiting membership in any group that commits misconduct. The report's authors recommended that policy be further clarified. It also recommended the creation of a new peer training program.

It's not clear how many of the cliques are inherently problematic. Around a quarter of those surveyed said fraternities could have a positive influence by creating camaraderie and boosting morale. The report noted that some cliques are just "drinking groups."

Read more about the latest Rand Corp. survey at the Los Angeles Times.

See also:

Editorial: What do we do about sheriff's gangs?