The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday named replacements for three transit department supervisors who were demoted in connection with an alleged cheating scandal.
Sheriff Lee Baca appointed Ronene Anda, a 29-year Sheriff’s Department veteran, as acting commander of the Transit Services Bureau. Anda replaces Cmdr. Pat Jordan. The sheriff also replaced two captains who reported to Jordon.
“This happened fairly suddenly,” said Marc Littman, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which holds an $80-million contract with the transit bureau to protect county buses and rail. “It had nothing at all to do with Metro or [Jordan’s] performance with us.”
The Times reported this week that Baca demoted the transit bureau’s top three supervisors after cheating allegations arose related to the “Baker to Vegas” event — a relay race for charity in which police agencies from several states compete. After the race, event organizers received word that a participant representing the Transit Services Bureau was not a law enforcement employee.
Five employees were disciplined, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said, and three were demoted – considered one of the worst reprimands next to getting fired.
The department’s top leadership was reassigned at the request of Baca, Metro said.
Anda, the interim chief, was formerly the commander of the Countywide Services Division, which patrols county facilities, parks, colleges and county hospitals, Metro said.
To replace the two demoted captains, whose names were not released for personnel reasons, Baca appointed Karl Schow as acting captain of the southern transit region and Sergio Mancilla as acting captain of the northern region.
“I feel confident that the high level of law enforcement services focused on our transit needs will continue,” Metro Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy said in a statement, “and our close working relationship with LASD will be maintained.”
The departmental reshuffling comes two days before a weekend packed with high-ridership events, including the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the Long Beach Grand Prix, a Clippers basketball game at the Staples Center and the CicLAvia bicycle ride.
Whitmore said the plans to protect riders this weekend have been in place for months, and will not be affected by the staffing changes.