To the editor: The picture of a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy yelling in the face of a recruit on the first day of training might well fit what you would expect for a Marine being prepared for war. ("Shortage of deputies could threaten L.A. County sheriff's reform agenda," May 30)
Police officers are to serve and protect civilians. Why have we militarized them?
The dual-track system — with separate career paths for jail duty and street patrol — is sensible. Trainee Nicolette Barfield, quoted in the article, says she wants to mentor arrestees and inmates and to help them "understand why they made a mistake." She is just the person to be in the jail custody corps, which should receive more training in mental illness and addiction as a way to stop recycling the same population in and out of our jails.
Those who receive brutality are more likely to inflict brutality. Those treated with respect are more likely to respect others.
Louise Bianco, Tarzana
To the editor: Before the L.A. County Sheriff's Department starts blaming its problems on the lack of quality applicants, it should look in the mirror.
A hiring process that can take anywhere from two to three years to complete has contributed to the problem. I was in the process for three years before dropping out, and I know of many other applicants who left out of frustration, only to get jobs with other agencies.
Paul Alderette, Rosemead
FOR THE RECORD
June 5, 1:07 p.m.: An earlier version of the caption on the photograph accompanying these letters misidentified the sheriff's deputy as Guillermo Garcia. His name is Guillermo Martinez.