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Medical evaluations for sheriff trainees

To the editor: A recent Times article described the challenges faced by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department in finding sufficient numbers of willing and able applicants to fill the ranks. The article indicated that the failure rate on the medical exam exceeds 50%. ("Shortage of deputies could threaten L.A. County sheriff's reform agenda," May 30)

While the county maintains high standards to ensure that new recruits will perform their duties safely and effectively, the actual failure rate on the medical exam is only 6%. The higher figure provided to The Times by the Sheriff's Department considered several additional factors that may lead to an applicant's removal from the hiring process at this stage. These may include an applicant's inability to meet the department's required height and weight standards, failure to provide requested medical records or failure on the required psychological exam.

The county's occupational health program continues to work in partnership with the sheriff to ensure that no willing and able applicants are "left behind."

R. Leonard Goldberg, MD, Los Angeles

The writer is medical director of occupational health programs for Los Angeles County.

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