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Case Name L.A. County Sheriff's Department (Kolts Report and Implementation) PN-CA-0001
Docket / Court No Court Case ( No Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
In the summer of 1991, following four controversial officer-involved shootings of minorities, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed Judge James G. Kolts to lead an inquiry into the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (LASD) and its handling of brutality complaints.

Judge ... read more >
In the summer of 1991, following four controversial officer-involved shootings of minorities, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed Judge James G. Kolts to lead an inquiry into the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (LASD) and its handling of brutality complaints.

Judge Kolts appointed attorney Merrick Bobb as general counsel to lead the inquiry. Mr. Bobb was previously part of the Christopher Commission's investigation of the LAPD in the wake of the Rodney King incident. He assembled a team of more than 60 lawyers, accountants and other professionals, who conducted a six month investigation. The probe included holding public hearings to gather citizen input and reviewing some 124 civil cases brought in 1987 through 1992 against LASD deputies for excessive force.

In July 1992 the Kolts Commission issued its 358-page "Kolts Report," an in-depth analysis of LASD's operations, with particular focus on the department's handling of brutality claims. The report note large scale incidents of brutality and excessive force by deputies, coupled with lax discipline and supervision. Of the 124 civil cases the team reviewed, it noted that the LASD paid out in excess of 18 million dollars in settlements and verdicts.

The Kolts Commission made recommendations for wholesale changes in departmental policies. The key recommendation was for the LASD to emphasize at every level of its command structure that excessive force would not be tolerated by the department. The commission also recommended direct civilian involvement and oversight in the review process of citizen complaints. Other primary recommendations included (1) implementing a department-wide use-of-force reporting and tracking system, (2) creation of a formal policy banning head strikes to suspects, unless deadly force would be justified, (3) putting an end to the practice of discouraging citizens from filing complaints of misconduct, and (4) aggressively disciplining officers engaged in brutality and the overhaul of the internal affairs bureau.

Following the issuance of Kolts Report, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt its recommendations and retained Merrick Bobb as special counsel to continue to monitor the LASD and prepare semiannual reports describing the progress made by the LASD to implement departmental reforms targeted to ensure that "the LASD is doing all it could and should to prevent avoidable and unnecessary injury or death in the jails and on the streets." (25th Semiannual Report). The LA County voluntarily engaged Police Assessment Resource Center(PARC) and its staff to monitor the fourth-largest law enforcement agency in the United States, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, for more than 21 years.

Special Counsel Merrick Bobb and his staff oversaw the LASD, initially for a three year period, which was later extended. Bobb's team continued its oversight and issued 34 semi-annual reports, addressing myriad issues facing the LASD, including, excessive force (29th Semiannual Report), in-service training, use of canines, shootings (30th Semiannual Report) handling of mentally ill suspects and county jail operations, identification of problem officers and remediation, (27th Semiannual Report), prisoner complaint processes (28th Semiannual Report), how pregnancy is handled in the jail system (25th Semiannual report), the treatment of prisoners with immigration detainers (28th Semiannual Report). The primary charge of Special Counsel was to ensure the implementation of reforms relating to use of force, officer-invovled shootings, and supervision.

In drafting new policies, establishing new procedures, or designing new training, Special Counsel and PARC evaluated LASD's policies in light of best practice–as established by assessments of law enforcement agencies nationwide, model policies from national organizations, legal and academic research, and consultation by experienced professionals and law enforcement experts. In the span of the 21 years of monitoring, PARC pressed LASD to learn from fresh insights and new approaches adopted elsewhere.

As a result, the number of new lawsuits against LASD overall and the number that required payout (in settlements or verdicts) went down in the period during which LASD followed PARC's recommendations. Across 21 years, the number of inadequately investigated or reviewed force incidents and civilian complaints steadily plummeted. Also, at the start of the project, LASD suffered from vigilante posses of deputy "gangs" doing as they pleased and intentionally circumventing the Department's formal chain of command. Force was not regularly reported and rarely thoroughly investigated. Special Counsel and PARC helped to create a culture in which the investigation and review of force incidents are taken seriously. Likewise, the experiences of female, black, Latino, and LGBT officers were found to have improved.

Blase Kearney - 07/09/2012
Ginny Lee - 03/23/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Monitor/Master
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Communication skills
Conditions of confinement
Confidentiality
Confinement/isolation
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
False arrest
Grievance Procedures
Improper treatment of mentally ill suspects
Improper use of canines
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Over/Unlawful Detention
Pattern or Practice
Pepper/OC spray
Racial profiling
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Search policies
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Defendant(s) Los Angeles Country Sherrif's Department
Plaintiff Description Independent investigative body (James G. Kolts and Merrick Bobb), appointed to conduct investigation of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 1993 - 2014
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PN-CA-0003 : Thomas v. County of Los Angeles (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0021 : Musso v. County of Los Angeles (State Court)
JC-CA-0052 : Beaudoin v. County of Los Angeles (State Court)
JC-CA-0002 : CRIPA Investigation, Los Angeles County (CA) (No Court)
Additional Resources
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Links New York City to Pay Up to $75 Million Over Dismissed Summonses
New York Times
Written: Jan. 23, 2017
By: Benjamin Weiser (New York Times)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 1st Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/01/1993
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 2nd Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/01/1994
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 3rd Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/1994
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 4th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/1995
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 5th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/01/1996
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 6th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/01/1996
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 7th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/01/1997
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 8th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/01/1997
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 9th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/1998
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 10th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/01/1999
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 11th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/01/1999
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 12th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2000
Special Report: The Death of Kevin Evans
PN-CA-0001-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/30/2000
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 13th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/2000
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 14th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/01/2001
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 15th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/01/2002
LA County Sheriff's Department - Report by Special Counsel James G. Kolts and Staff
PN-CA-0001-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2002
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 16th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/01/2003
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 17th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2003
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 18th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/01/2004
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 19th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/01/2005
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 20th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/01/2005
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 21st Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/2006
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 22nd Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/01/2006
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 23rd Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0025.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/01/2007
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: 24th Semiannual Report by Special Counsel Merrick J. Bobb & Staff
PN-CA-0001-0026.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/2007
25th Semiannual Report
PN-CA-0001-0027.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2008
26th Semiannual Report
PN-CA-0001-0028.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/01/2009
27th Semiannual Report
PN-CA-0001-0029.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/01/2009
28th Semiannual Report
PN-CA-0001-0030.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/01/2009
29th Semiannual Report
PN-CA-0001-0031.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2010
30th Semiannual Report
PN-CA-0001-0032.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/01/2011
31st Semiannual Report
PN-CA-0001-0033.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2012
32nd Semiannual Report
PN-CA-0001-0034.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2013
33rd Semiannual Report
PN-CA-0001-0035.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/01/2013
34th Semiannual Report
PN-CA-0001-0036.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/01/2014
Monitors/Masters Bobb, Merrick J. (California)
PN-CA-0001-0001 | PN-CA-0001-0002 | PN-CA-0001-0003 | PN-CA-0001-0004 | PN-CA-0001-0005 | PN-CA-0001-0006 | PN-CA-0001-0007 | PN-CA-0001-0008 | PN-CA-0001-0009 | PN-CA-0001-0010 | PN-CA-0001-0011 | PN-CA-0001-0012 | PN-CA-0001-0013 | PN-CA-0001-0014 | PN-CA-0001-0015 | PN-CA-0001-0016 | PN-CA-0001-0017 | PN-CA-0001-0018 | PN-CA-0001-0019 | PN-CA-0001-0020 | PN-CA-0001-0021 | PN-CA-0001-0022 | PN-CA-0001-0024 | PN-CA-0001-0025 | PN-CA-0001-0026 | PN-CA-0001-0027 | PN-CA-0001-0028 | PN-CA-0001-0029 | PN-CA-0001-0030 | PN-CA-0001-0031 | PN-CA-0001-0032 | PN-CA-0001-0033 | PN-CA-0001-0034 | PN-CA-0001-0035 | PN-CA-0001-0036
Kolts, James G. (California)
PN-CA-0001-0023

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