Only 10 O.C. Reservists Trying to Be Reinstated

Times Staff Writer

Only 10 of the reserve deputies appointed in 1999 by Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona without proper background checks or training are taking the academy courses required to get back in good standing with the state.

Two weeks ago, the Sheriff’s Department reported that 15 of the 86 reservists removed from the state’s list of peace officers because of background and training issues planned to attend a police academy to fulfill the 162 hours they need to be reinstated.

But last week, only 10 showed up for the first day of classes, department officials acknowledged in response to a Public Records Act request filed by The Times.


The five who opted out will be given the choice of resigning or reducing to a Professional Service Reserve, a rank that does not carry police powers, officials said.

The original group of 86 reserves included political allies and friends of the sheriff and his top assistants. They were deputized in 1999 shortly after Carona took office and days before the state stiffened training requirements.

All 86 were eliminated from the state’s peace officer database three years later, after the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training determined their background checks and training were incomplete. The commission also concluded the appointments were rushed to avoid the tougher training standards.

Carona has said the appointments were not political favors and there was never a public safety risk. Critics of the sheriff disagree, contending that appointments were political favors and that badges have been misused by reservists.

Carona and the state commission agreed last summer to conditions under which the reserves could be reinstated, including graduation from a 162-hour law enforcement academy.