A California sheriff’s office has fired 47 deputies from law enforcement duties after it became known that they had received unsatisfactory psychological exam results during the hiring process.
The number of deputies now on desk duty at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office represents 5 percent of the 1,000-member military.
Sources told KTVU they believe that the psychological exam process under Sheriff Gregory Ahern is flawed and often results in Ahern passing his friends and family to get hired, while refusing candidates he doesn’t like.
A former employee added that problems with getting an unsatisfactory result include showing immaturity, mental health problems, financial problems, marital conflict or drug and alcohol problems.
The failed exams date back to 2016.
Former deputy Devin Williams Jr., 24, who allegedly shot and killed a couple in their home, had failed his psychological exam, according to the same sources.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Removed 47 Deputies From Law Enforcement Duties After Failing Psychological Entrance Exams
Dating back to 2016, the 47 failed exams represent 5 percent of the 1,000-member military
Sheriff Gregory Ahern said he was following inappropriate advice that said the department could hire deputies with failed exams
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Ray Kelly said it was “horrible” to relieve the deputies from their duties and, despite sources alleging Williams’ failure, he previously noted that Williams had passed all the required tests.
The investigation into the department’s psychological investigations is the result of Williams being charged with two murders earlier this month.
“I know people will assume all these deputies are murderers,” Kelly said. ‘But that is not true. This test tries to find out if you are psychologically fit for the job, to handle all the horrible things we see.
‘At 22 years old you sometimes aren’t. I know this isn’t right. But it’s not as bad as it sounds.’
Kelly said he has no response to allegations that Ahern has allowed favorable candidates to pass the exam, adding that he hopes “he doesn’t operate like that.”
In June, Ahern lost an election to Yesenia Sanchez, and he will resign in January 2023.
Pictured: A copy of the letter sent to delegates who have been relieved of their current duties due to their exam results
“Our intention is to resolve this issue as quickly as possible,” Ahern wrote. The Sheriff’s Office expects to conduct follow-up testing in the next ‘few months’
While all 47 have the option to return to their jobs, it is unknown how many will be recovered
Follow-up tests will be conducted in the next “few months,” Kelly said, and they will be conducted by a certified psychologist who doesn’t work for the Sheriff’s Office.
It is not known how many of the 47 deputies will be able to get their jobs back.
Of those 47, 30 currently work at the Santa Rita Jail, while 17 are employed elsewhere.
Kara Janssen, a lawyer who oversees the consent decree for various aspects in the prison, said the discovery of the failed exams is “deeply concerning.”
She said neither she nor her firm had been notified of the exams, and she wonders how many relieved deputies work in the prison, which has seen 59 deaths since 2014.
Some sources close to the situation claim that Ahern allowed favorable candidates to bypass the exam altogether
Lieutenant Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the department, said the Sheriff’s Office was under “enormous pressure” to hire more officers.
In a letter from Ahern to a deputy, Ahern said the Sheriff’s Office had been operating under improper advice and said they could hire candidates who have the “D. Not suitable’ result.
“Our intention is to resolve this issue as quickly as possible,” Ahern wrote. “We also plan to return you to full-service status once you receive a ‘suitable’ finding.”
He goes on to say that the deputy can be hired if the follow-up examination declares him or her “suitable.”
All delegates who received the letter will continue to receive benefits and be paid.
Jose Bernal, the organizing director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, said the Sheriff’s Office is “turning a blind eye” to hiring the deputies. The Stockton Record.
“This highlights the massive level of dysfunction and corruption that has plagued the sheriff’s office for years,” Bernal said.
Kelly concluded his statement by adding that the Oakland branch was under “enormous pressure” to hire more delegates.
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