Law enforcers should not carry weapons while drinking | Inquirer
 
 
 
 
 
 

LA County seeks to ban law enforcers from carrying weapons while drinking

/ 01:14 AM January 27, 2024

LOS ANGELES – Following a report that cited eight recent incidents involving sheriff’s deputies handling firearms while consuming alcohol, the county Board of Supervisors earlier this week requested that the agency revise its policies to include a strict prohibition on deputies carrying weapons while drinking.

The motion also asked that the policy authorize commanders to order alcohol testing of department members suspected of alcohol use, and to take disciplinary actions against any members who refuse to be tested.

Gun carried by Sheriff's deputy

The LA County Board of Supervisors has requested the LA County Sheriff’s Department to revise its policies to include a strict prohibition on deputies carrying weapons while drinking. Photo for illustration only

The motion requested that sheriff’s officials report back to the board in 90 days to discuss the issue and discuss whether it has agreed to implement the recommended policy changes.

Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, who co-authored the motion with Supervisor Hilda Solis, said she has already discussed the issue with Sheriff Robert Luna, and he is “going to engage in the appropriate processes to evaluate the impacts of this direction.”

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“But I believe this is a step in the right direction,” Horvath said.

Solis said she believes that motion has two impacts — to protect department staff and the public from “any potential mishaps … because of the mixing of firearms and alcohol,” while also identifying department members who may need assistance to deal with dependency issues.

“This topic is a very serious one, no doubt, and it needs to be addressed head-on,” Solis said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The issue arose from a November report by the county’s Office of Inspector General that identified eight incidents involving deputies and alcohol while in possession of a firearm.

“And even more recently, news reports highlighted an incident involving alleged members of a deputy gang which involved a deputy who had been drinking flashing a handgun when in a dispute with teenagers outside of a bowling alley,” the motion states.

“Many of the incidents referenced in these reports were very dangerous in nature including: firing their weapon negligently, firing `warning shots’ at youth, displaying the firearm to threaten others, physical fights while possessing a firearm, driving on the wrong side of the road, losing their firearms, possessing their firearm off-duty without having qualified to do so, and other deeply concerning behavior.”

According to the motion, the current department policy governing off- duty deputies allows a blood-alcohol concentration of up to 0.08 — a limit the motion deems to be “too high.” The motion requests that the sheriff revise department policy “to include a strict prohibition against carrying firearms while consuming alcohol, on or off duty.”

The board also requested that the department policy be revised to mandate alcohol testing in all instances of off-duty accidental weapon discharges.

“This is a common-sense policy,” Supervisor Holly Mitchell said. “We should, as a civilized society, have a heightened level of expectation of those who are licensed to carry a firearm. And so I think it’s very reasonable. It was shocking to read about the number of incidents in the OIG report. It’s not just one. there were a series of incidents and it clearly shows a pattern.”

The board approved the motion on a 4-0 vote, with Supervisor Janice Hahn abstaining. Hahn said she has “made a real commitment to support the sheriff in how he runs the department,” and she trusted that Luna recognizes the problem cited in the OIG report and would take the appropriate action. (CNS)

Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
TAGS: guns, law enforcement, Los Angeles
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.




We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.