The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) has taken legal action against Sheriff Robert Luna and the Office of the Inspector General, alleging that their directives regarding tattoos and inquiries about alleged deputy gangs infringe upon deputies’ constitutional rights. In a petition filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court, ALADS argues that these changes should have been addressed through prior bargaining and proper procedures. The Office of Inspector General is currently conducting an investigation into the existence of law enforcement gangs within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The controversy arose when the Office of Inspector General sent letters to affected deputies, including ALADS-represented employees, ordering them to participate in interviews related to the investigation into alleged law enforcement gangs. Deputies were also asked to provide photographs of specific tattoos on their bodies.
ALADS filed an unfair employee relations practice charge with the Los Angeles County Employee Relations Commission, seeking to maintain the status quo until their case is resolved. The union contends that deputies have a reasonable expectation of privacy for non-visible tattoos covered by clothing, and this issue should be determined by a judge.
The union’s petition argues that the Office of Inspector General failed to meet and confer in good faith with ALADS prior to issuing the directives. In response, the LASD stated that labor and legal representatives are better equipped to address the specifics of the investigation.
A trial-setting conference has been scheduled for August 8 before Judge James Chalfant to address the union’s legal petition. The outcome of this case will have implications for the constitutional rights of deputies and the handling of inquiries into alleged deputy gangs within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.