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Home / Neighborhood / LA County / 4 more LA County probation officers on leave over youth violence

4 more LA County probation officers on leave over youth violence

by Joe Taglieri
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The Los Angeles County Probation Department has placed four more officers on leave following an internal investigation that found more occurrences of youth violence at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, the department announced Friday.

Since January, Probation Department Chief Guillermo Viera Rosa has put 12 Los Padrinos officers on leave pending investigations by the state attorney general’s office of “incidents of youth-on-youth violence.” On Jan. 10 Viera Rosa placed eight other officers on leave after a video surfaced showing a violent incident at the facility Dec. 22 involving multiple youth detainees. 

Viera Rosa said suspending the officers reflects a push to root out probation staff members “responsible for perpetrating a culture of violence, drugs, or abuse” in the county’s juvenile halls. 

“While these incidents involve a small number of our staff, they violate our core values and undermine our ability to do our duty to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the rehabilitation of the youth placed in our care,” Viera Rosa said in a statement. “My commitment to dig deeper into potential wrongdoing, to take immediate action, and to publicly disclose my actions should make it clear that we will not tolerate anything that creates or contributes to a culture of violence in our juvenile facilities.”

The probation chief said he asked outside agencies to investigate the violent incidents to better enable an unbiased probe as the Probation Department “restructures and professionalizes” its Internal Affairs Unit.

The department did not elaborate on the details of the additional violent incidents involving youth detainees.

In February, the California Board of State and Community Corrections deemed Los Padrinos and the Barry J. Nidorf Secure Youth Treatment Facility in Sylmar unsuitable to house young people. Violations framing that decision were insufficient staffing levels and staff training, youth education programs, safety plans and disciplinary procedures.

The board reversed that decision earlier this month, saying that the Probation Department made adequate improvements to address the violations. If the board had maintained the “unsuitable” designation, LA County would have been required to close Nidorf and Los Padrinos and find new accommodations for youth detainees.

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