San Diego County Sheriff John Duffy, whose department was sharply criticized this week in a County Grand Jury report on abuse of inmates in the jails, has reviewed the report chronicling assaults by jail deputies and agrees with the panel’s findings, the sheriff’s spokesman said Friday.
Lt. Alan Fulmer said the sheriff has already begun meeting with his top staff to determine how best to implement the grand jury’s recommendations.
“He’s in total agreement with everything they said,” Fulmer said of the sheriff’s reaction to the 20-page report.
“He’s going to be acting on the recommendations as soon as he possibly can. In fact, he is meeting with his jail commanders and staff to discuss just exactly that.”
Duffy was out of town most of this week and has yet to publicly address the grand jury’s conclusions that deputies assaulted inmates in the jails.
Fulmer said that, although originally the Sheriff’s Office had planned for Duffy to convene a press conference to discuss the grand jury’s report, the sheriff may instead release a “public statement” next week.
Wheels Going Around in Mind
He said the statement would detail the sheriff’s reaction to the grand jury’s findings, and detail his plan for taking steps to act on the group’s recommendations for assuring that the abuses do not continue.
And the lieutenant said the statement could also serve as the sheriff’s official written response to the grand jury.
“It may be one and the same,” Fulmer said. “The sheriff wants to respond to the grand jury as soon as possible. And I can see the wheels going around in his mind. He feels that timeliness is very important in this thing. He wants to get this thing resolved as soon as possible.”
The grand jury investigation began after many inmates and former inmates alleged that they had been assaulted by deputies in the jails. Duffy originally denied that there was any widespread abuse in the jails, but went ahead and asked the grand jury to review the allegations.
On Tuesday, the grand jury released its findings. The panel’s report said inmates were frequently assaulted and harassed by deputies, that there were internal cover-ups of the assaults and that Duffy and his top command did not provide adequate leadership to stop the misconduct.
The report also verified the existence of a “Rambo Squad” of deputies that preyed on inmates in the El Cajon Detention Facility, and stated that many deputies found a “delight in cruelty to others.”
And the report made a series of eleven recommendations, including that the sheriff:
- “Reassert his personal leadership over jail operations.”
- Form an Inspections and Control Division to assure that department policies and procedures are followed, especially in the jails.
- Increase the size of the sheriff’s Internal Affairs Division to enable it “to more diligently investigate” allegations of jail abuse.
- Revamp procedures for filing “inmate status reports” to ensure that individual allegations of abuse are properly recorded and investigated.
Fulmer said that Duffy has reviewed the suggestions several times, and “he likes all of the recommendations.”
“He has no fault with any of them,” he said. “Overall, he is in complete agreement with their suggestions.”