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L.A. County supervisors approve new oversight proposals for troubled Probation Department

June 29, 2010 |  7:13 pm

A package of proposals to increase accountability and oversight of Los Angeles County's troubled Probation Department was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

In response to scathing reports on the department's broken internal affairs unit and the abuse of minors, the package authorizes the drafting of policies that would give Probation Chief Donald H. Blevins the ability to hire many top managers from outside the department.

“It is clear that they brought me in to clean up the department, and today they said we are going to do everything we can to help you do that,” Blevins said of the supervisors. “What we are doing is a complete evaluation of the upper management. I haven’t ruled out a reorganization.”

The measures also authorize the development of a plan to hire attorneys from the county's Office of Independent Review to oversee the department's internal affairs unit, which has failed to impose discipline on scores of staffers accused of serious abuses.

Additionally, the supervisors ordered immediate investigation of any staffers accused of misuse of department credit cards or lapses in discipline, as well as those recently arrested on suspicion of crimes.

The vote on the measures was 4-0, with Supervisor Don Knabe absent.

--Garrett Therolf at the L.A. County Hall of Administration