LOS ANGELES (CBS) — If you have an issue with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, be patient: you may not hear back from them for months.

KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta reports a newly-released report is critical of how the department handles deputy complaints from members of the public.

An independent monitor looked at more than 2,100 complaints filed in 2010 and found a majority of them were not handled in a timely manner.

Department policy requires complaints to be investigated within 30 days and sent to the “discovery unit” within 60 days, but the review found the process took an average of more than 100 days, with one complaint going unaddressed for up to 659 days.

“There’s always room for improvement,” said sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore. “We certainly are aware of this and we’re working to correct these failings.”

The report by the Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC) found discourtesy was the most common problem alleged in the complaints, while also acknowledging that aside from a few exceptions, investigations were thorough and well-documented.

Whitmore also downplayed the report’s concerns over whether Sheriff Lee Baca ceded too much authority over appointments and promotions, and he challenged the notion that curbing the use of excessive force in county jails would require enacting major policy shifts within the department.

“The culture has already changed dramatically,” he said. “Can we do better? Absolutely. Will we do better? Yes.”


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