A Former Sheriff’s Opinion on Civilians in the Jails

I ran into former Orange County Sheriff Jack Anderson on Friday outside the courthouse after Superior Court Judge Kazuharu Makino issued a ruling that seems to temporarily halt the use of civilian guards in the county’s jails.

Anderson wasn’t shy about stating his opinion on the matter, saying that the jails shouldn’t be under the purview of the Sheriff’s Department and that politics has kept the sensible solution from happening.

Anderson — who made the first departmental moves to bring in civilian guards — said the practice of training a sheriff’s deputy for patrol and then assigning them to a jail environment for up to eight years — the average duration of jail duty before a deputy gets to patrol division — makes no sense.

“The county should look at taking the jails away from the sheriff and creating a staffing scheme from the ground up, which does not include the deputy sheriff classification,” said Anderson, who was chosen by former Sheriff Mike Carona as acting sheriff in 2008 following Carona’s indictment and resignation. Anderson later lost the competition for a supervisors’ appointment to Hutchens.

“It would save them [taxpayers] tens of millions annually,” he added.

Anderson — who has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the department — said politics has hindered implementation.

“I think it shows there was a lack of thorough thought on how this process would move forward because it’s a hybrid of what they should be doing,” Anderson said. “It’s now beginning to backfire on them and bringing them into the courts.”