EXPOSITION PARK (CBSLA.com) — The head of the agency appointed to oversee the troubled Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department made his first public appearance Monday night.
Sheriff’s Department Inspector General Max Huntsman did not hesitate to make it clear to a Town Hall gathering, his first public appearance since being appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, that he embraces the task of exposing malpractice within the department.
“We don’t want to be part of the Sheriff’s department, we don’t want to be telling them what to do every day,” Huntsman said. “But, we want to be there watching, so that if something goes wrong, we are in a position to say something about it sooner rather than later.”
As Huntsman discussed an array of department-related topics at the meeting, he inevitably found himself facing numerous questions from religious and civic leaders on the topic of deputy violence within the community.
“The community does not trust the sheriff’s department to prosecute their own, or the district attorney to prosecute their own,” Emilio Lacques of the Young Justice Coalition said.
Others, however, including Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, say they expect Inspector Huntsman to be a major factor in the department’s much-needed reform.
“The inspector general has a critical role to play, a crucial role to play, in making sure that this department does right by the citizenry of Los Angeles County,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.
As it is speculated that Huntsman will have relatively little power as inspector general, some attendees, including one Sheriff candidate, say his particular position seems to be a waste of funds.
“This guy, I mean, I was really disappointed to listen to what he had to say, because it’s just a waste of taxpayer money,” Lt. Patrick Gomez said. “The man has no authority, no power, and all he can do is make recommendations to the sheriff, and the sheriff can tell him ‘I really don’t care’, and he can’t do anything about it.”