- Alameda County Sheriff’s Office removed 47 deputies from law enforcement duties after it was revealed they received unsatisfactory psychological exam results
- The 47 deputies represent 5 percent of the 1,000-member force
- A spokesperson said retesting will begin in the next ‘couple months,’ and will be performed by an outside firm
- A former deputy who was charged with murder reportedly failed his exam before he was hired on to the Sheriff’s Office
- Anonymous sources claim the exam process under current sheriff Gregory Ahern is flawed
A California sheriff’s office has removed 47 deputies from law enforcement duties after it was revealed they received unsatisfactory psychological exam results during the hiring process.
The number of deputies now on desk duty at Alameda County Sheriff’s Office represents 5 percent of the 1,000-member force.
Sources told KTVU they believe the psychological exam process under Sheriff Gregory Ahern is flawed and often results in Ahern passing his friends and family to get hired while denying candidates he does not like.
A former employee added that issues to receive an unsatisfactory result include a showing of immaturity, mental health problems, financial issues, marital conflict or drug and alcohol issues.
The failed exams date back as far as 2016.
Former deputy Devin Williams Jr., 24, who allegedly shot and killed a couple in their home, had failed his psychological exam, according to the same sources.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Ray Kelly said it ‘was horrible’ to relieve the deputies of their duties and, despite sources claiming Williams failed, previously noted that Williams had passed all required tests.
The audit into the department’s psychological exams is a result of Williams being charged with two counts of murder earlier this month.
‘I know that people are going to assume that all these deputies are killers,’ Kelly said. ‘But that’s not true. This test tries to find out if you are psychologically suitable for the job, to handle all the horrible things we see.
‘At the age of 22, sometimes you’re not. I know this isn’t good. But it’s not as bad as it sounds.’
Kelly said he does not have a response to allegations that Ahern has allowed favorable candidates to bypass the exam and added that he hopes ‘he’s not operating like that.’
In June, Ahern lost an election to Yesenia Sanchez, and he will step down in January 2023.
Follow-up tests will be administered in the next ‘couple months,’ Kelly said, and they will be conducted by a certified psychologist who does not work for the Sheriff’s Office.
It is not known how many of the 47 deputies will be able to get their jobs back.
Of those 47, 30 currently work at Santa Rita Jail while 17 have jobs elsewhere.
Kara Janssen, an attorney supervising over the consent decree for different aspects at the jail, said the discovery of the failed exams is ‘deeply concerning.’
She said neither she nor her firm were told about the exams, and she questions how many relieved deputies work at the jail, where that have been 59 in-custody deaths since 2014.
In a letter sent from Ahern to a deputy, Ahern said the Sheriff’s Office had operated under improper advice saying they could hire candidates who received the ‘D. Not Suited’ result.
‘Our intention is to resolve this issue as quickly as possible,’ Ahern wrote. ‘We also intend to have you return to full duty status once you obtain a ‘Suitable’ finding.’
He continues by saying the deputy can be hired if the follow-up examination declares him or her ‘suitable.’
All deputies who received the letter will continue to receive benefits and be paid.
Jose Bernal, the organizing director for Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, said the Sheriff’s Office turned a ‘blind eye’ in hiring the deputies, according to The Stockton Record.
‘This further highlights the egregious levels of dysfunction and corruption that have plagued the sheriff’s office for years,’ Bernal said.
Kelly concluded his statement by adding the Oakland-based department was under ‘enormous pressure’ to hire more deputies.