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For other police services named after the county or city of Los Angeles see: Los Angeles Police

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) is a local county law enforcement agency that serves Los Angeles County, California. It is the seventh largest law enforcement agency in the United States (behind the New York City Police Department, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Florida Department of Corrections,the New York State Department of Correctional Services, the Chicago Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigationmarker, and the Los Angeles Police Department). Since 1996, it has also been the largest Sheriff's department in the world, and provides general-service law enforcement to unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, serving as the equivalent of the county police for unincorporated areas of the county, as well as incorporated cities within the county who have contracted with the agency for law-enforcement services (known as "contract cities" in local jargon). It also holds primary jurisdiction over facilities operated by Los Angeles County, such as local parks, marinas and government buildings (but delegates much of that authority to the Los Angeles County Office of Public Safety, a security police force); provides marshal service for the Superior Court of California - County of Los Angeles; operates the county jail system; and provides services, such as laboratories and academy training, to smaller law enforcement agencies within the county. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) is sometimes referred to as the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office (LASO).

Beginning on March 10, 2007, actor Jackie Chan joined forces with the LA County Sheriff's Department in their current recruitment campaign, oriented towards encouraging more members of the Asian American community to join the Sheriff's Department. In the announcement with Sheriff Lee Baca, Chan was seen wearing an LA County Sheriff's Deputy uniform. One LASD public service announcement has already featured Chan.


The LASD is the largest sheriff's department, and the sixth largest federal, state or local law enforcement agency in the United Statesmarker with over 16,000 employees, over 8,400 of whom are sworn deputies. Leroy D. Baca is the current sheriff.
LASD deputies provided law enforcement services to 2,557,754 residents in an area of both in the unincorporated County land and within the contract cities (1995 figure).

The Sheriff's Department also operates one the largest jail systems which provides short-term incarceration services for all of the County (including the cities like Los Angelesmarker which have their own police departments). The Men's Central Jail (MCJ) and Twin Towers Correctional Facilitymarker (TTCF) are located in a dense cluster northeast of Union Stationmarker that is next to the station's rail yard. The North County Correctional Facility (NCCF) is the largest of the four jail facilities located at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic, Californiamarker. The other facilities are East Facility, North Facility, and South Facility.

Some of the newer contract cities like Santa Claritamarker and West Hollywoodmarker have never had police departments. When their city governments were founded, they took over what was formerly unincorporated land, but then contracted their police responsibilities right back to the county sheriff. Since the department already had substations in those areas anyway, the result was to maintain the status quo.

In contrast, Compton, Californiamarker, used to have a police department, but in 2000, the city council voted to dismantle the troubled police department and become a contract city. Compton has been at times notorious for gang violence, especially during its recent history.


L.A. County Sheriff's academy training is at Sheriff's Training Academy and Regional Services Center (STARS Center) in unincorporated South Whittiermarker. Reserves may use either STARS Center or College of the Canyonsmarker (Santa Clarita) for academy training. Academy training is 18 weeks. Many law enforcement agencies throughout Los Angeles County utilize STARS Center and deputy sheriff trainees graduating as deputy sheriffs also undergo detention-specific training.


The LASD has gained an international reputation for its efforts in developing and integrating the latest law enforcement technologies, especially nonlethal weapons. Because many developers, especially those developing technologies for the U.S. Department of Defense, have little idea of the needs of domestic law enforcement, the LASD provides experts to assist in the development and implementation of technologies that will be of service to law enforcment when fully mature. In the late 1990s, the LASD successfully implemented a county-wide sound recorder/meter system, ShotStopper, to detect loud noises. When dispatch has a call from a citizen reporting possible gunfire near their residence, these sound towers can pinpoint within about 25 to where the shots were coming from and record the sound for investigative purposes, and at the same time, relay the GPS info to HQ and deputies on the street. The system has been up and running for several years and has been responsible for numerous felony arrests.

Currently, the LASD is working with the FAA and local government officials to deploy their remote control aerial surveillance drone system. This would allow the Sheriff's Department to have real time imagery from the streets of Los Angeles to combat street violence and record crimes in progress, not to mention searching for missing hikers, "patrolling" behind the surf zones of the beaches and looking for lost children. The drones are not intended to replace police helicopters, but in specific incidents could be better, cheaper and quieter to use.

Starting in 2009, LASD began leasing electric-powered Mini Cooper cars for $10 a month each. In exchange, Mini Cooper's parent company, BMW, requested feedback about the cars. One of the cars is currently being used at the Sheriff Substation at Universal City, CAmarker.

The LASD hired the first female deputy sheriff in the United States in 1912. Margaret Q. Adams remained a deputy in the evidence department at the Los Angeles Courthouse for 35 years, until her retirement in 1947.

Special Weapons Teams

The Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) is the LASD's version of SWAT teams, a creation of the nearby LAPD. LASD SEB and LAPD SWAT have helped the U.S.marker Department of Defensemarker in the past by training U.S. Army Rangers, Special Forces, and other military units on policing skills prior to being deployed overseas. Law enforcement agencies from across the nation and around the world often look to the LASD SEB and LAPD SWAT teams for training and advice, often sending experienced officers to train under both departments.

In 1992, after the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, both the LAPD SWAT and LASD SEB teams decided to work on tactics that would rescue people from dangerous crowds, and at the same time provide a way to eliminate a threat, such as a gunman, without being noticed by a hostile crowd. In the first example, the idea was to have SWAT ride in one of the city's Air Rescue helicopter units with LAFD and LASD paramedics to enter a scene, using SWAT as a threat to ground opposition while LAFD paramedics could safely drop in and pick up an injured person. In the second example, sharpshooters could be used at high altitudes in LASD air units to look for any potential threats on the ground, and at the same time neutralize any would-be killers.

Air Rescue Program

The LASD Air Rescue program is used for many emergencies in L.A. County, most notably the wildfire-prone Angeles National Forest. Those who are trapped in in hard to reach areas will usually be found and rescued by LASD Air Rescue. The LASD staffs multiple sea King helicopters for this program.

In addition to having a fleet of three Sikorsky Sea Kings, the LASD also utilizes several Eurocopter AS-350 AStars helicopters and several fixed wing aircraft.

The Sky Knight Helicopter Program is an airborne law enforcement program in Lakewood, Californiamarker which was started in 1966. The unit operates using non-sworn pilots, employed by the city of Lakewood, partnered with a sworn deputy sheriff from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Lakewood station. The unit currently operates three Schweizer 300C helicopters, based at Long Beach airport and flies about 1,800 hours per year. Today, the Sky Knight program is completely integrated within the sheriff's tactical operations. Five other cities (Artesia, Bellflower, Hawaiian Gardens, Paramount and Cerritos) contract with Lakewood to participate in the Sky Knight program. These five cities also contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for police services.


By sex:
  • Male: 86%
  • Female: 14%

By race:
  • White: 60%
  • Hispanic: 26%
  • African American/Black: 10%
  • Asian: 4%

Rank structure and insignia

Rank insignia for Lieutenant through Sheriff is worn on the collars of the shirt and the shoulders of the jacket. Rank insignia for Sheriff's Deputies/Detectives and Sergeants is worn on the upper sleeves.

Title Insignia
Assistant Sheriff
Chief Deputy Sheriff
Deputy Sheriff Bonus I/II(Field Training Officer / Detective / Senior Jail Deputy)
Deputy Sheriff Generalist


The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which was founded in 1850, was the first professional police force in the Los Angeles area. The all-volunteer, Los Angeles-specific Los Angeles Rangers were formed in 1853 to assist the LASD. They were soon succeeded by the Los Angeles City Guards, another volunteer group. Neither force was particularly efficient and Los Angeles became known for its violence, gambling and "vice."

Members killed on duty

As of 2007, 94 sheriff's deputies have been killed in the line of duty since the department's founding in 1850.

LASD awards, commendations, citations and medals

The department presents a number of medals to its members for meritorious service. The medals that the LASD awards to its officers are as follows:

The Medal of Valor award is the highest honor a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department can receive.It is awarded to persons who distinguish themselves by displaying great courage, above and beyond the call of duty,in the face of an immediate life-threatening peril, and with full knowledge of the risk involved.

  • Meritorious Conduct Gold Medal:
This medal is the second highest award a Department member can receive. It is awarded to persons who place themselves in immediate peril and perform an act of heroism and/or save the life of another person.

  • Meritorious Conduct Silver Medal:
This medal is awarded to persons who, when confronted by circumstances beyond the normal course of their duties, place themselves in potential peril while performing an act of heroism or while saving or attempting to save the life of another.

  • Lifesaving Award


Lynwood Vikings

The LASD has a 30 year history of secret and selective officer fraternities within the force. Members of these groups are identified by unique tattoos and are predominantly white males. In 1996, a federal judge pronounced the most well-known of these fraternities, the "Lynwood Vikings", a "neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang" and found that deputies had engaged in racially motivated hostility. The county was forced to pay $9 million in penalties and training costs.

Special reserves program

In 1999, Sheriff Lee Baca established a special reserves program. According to the Los Angeles Times, the program was designed to cater to celebrities, executives, star athletes and other "notable persons". Some members of the Sheriff's Department said they were worried that the program would be abused, particularly by those seeking a backdoor way to secure a concealed weapons permit in Los Angeles County.LAT061899> Within a month of Baca swearing in his first new celebrity reserve deputies, one of his recruits, Scott Zacky, had been suspended and relieved of duty for brandishing a firearm in a confrontation outside his Bel-Air home. The program would eventually be suspended.LAT092599> Less than six months later, another member of the special celebrity reserve unit was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of international money laundering. No well-known celebrities joined the program, and less than 20 little-known wealthy individuals actually participated. It was suspended in November, 2006. LAT120299>

Mel Gibson

After the July 28, 2006 arrest of Mel Gibson for drunk driving, the Los Angeles Sheriff Department initially told the press that Mel Gibson was arrested without incident or special treatment. Subsequent to this, the original arrest report was leaked to the media, which included controversial statements by Gibson. Prior to his arrest, Gibson filmed a PSA for Baca's relief committee dressed in a sheriff's uniform. Upon questioning by the Los Angeles Times about charges of celebrity favoritism, Baca denied that his department tried to cover up Gibson’s behavior.

At the time, the Times reported that a civilian oversight committee had decided to investigate whether Gibson had received favorable treatment because of his celebrity status or his longtime friendship with Baca.

Contract Law Enforcement by LASD


The LASD has entered into contracts with the following cities to serve as their police department/law enforcement agency. Forty (40) of the eighty-eight (88) cities in Los Angeles County contract with the Sheriffs Department for their complete municipal law enforcement services.

City Served by
City of Agoura Hillsmarker Malibu/Lost Hills Station, Agoura Hills, CA
City of Artesiamarker Lakewood Station, Lakewood, CA
City of Avalonmarker (Catalina Island) Avalon Station, Avalon, CA
City of Bellflowermarker Lakewood / Bellflower Substation, Bellflower, CA
City of Bradburymarker Temple Station, Temple City, CA
City of Calabasasmarker Malibu/Lost Hills Station, Agoura Hills, CA
City of Carsonmarker Carson Station, Carson, CA
City of Cerritosmarker Cerritos Station, Cerritos, CA
City of Commercemarker East Los Angeles Station, Los Angeles CA
City of Comptonmarker Compton Station, Compton, CA
City of Diamond Barmarker Walnut/Diamond Bar Station, Walnut, CA
City of Duartemarker Temple / Duarte Satellite Station, Duarte, CA
City of Hawaiian Gardensmarker Lakewood Station, Lakewood, CA
City of Hidden Hillsmarker Malibu/Lost Hills Station
City of Industrymarker Industry Station, City of Industry, CA
City of La Canada Flintridgemarker Crescenta Valley Station, La Crescenta, CA
City of La Habra Heightsmarker Industry Station, City of Industry, CA
City of Lakewoodmarker Lakewood Station, Lakewood, CA
City of La Miradamarker Norwalk / La Mirada Substation, La Mirada, CA
City of Lancastermarker Lancaster Station, Lancaster, CA
City of La Puentemarker Industry Station, City of Industry, CA
City of Lawndalemarker Lennox Station / Lawndale Service Center
City of Lomitamarker Lomita Station, Lomita, CA
City of Lynwoodmarker Century Station, Lynwood, CA
City of Malibumarker Malibu/Lost Hills Station, Agoura Hills, CA
City of Norwalkmarker Norwalk Station, Norwalk, CA
City of Palmdalemarker Palmdale Station, Palmdale, CA
City of Paramountmarker Lakewood / Paramount Substation, Paramount, CA
City of Pico Riveramarker Pico Rivera Station, Pico Rivera, CA
City of Ranco Palos Verdesmarker Lomita Station, Lomita, CA
City of Rolling Hillsmarker Lomita Station, Lomita, CA
City of Rolling Hills Estatesmarker Lomita Station, Lomita, CA
City of Rosemeadmarker Temple Station, Temple City, CA
City of San Dimasmarker San Dimas Station, San Dimas, CA
City of Santa Claritamarker Santa Clarita Valley Station, Santa Clarita, CA
City of South El Montemarker Temple Station, Temple City, CA
City of Temple Citymarker Temple Station Temple City, CA
City of Walnutmarker Walnut/Diamond Bar Station, Walnut, CA
City of West Hollywoodmarker West Hollywood Station, West Hollywood, CA
City of Westlake Villagemarker Malibu/Lost Hills Station, Agoura Hills, CA
The City of Santa Fe Springsmarker was a contract city served by the LASD-Norwalk Station until the 1990s. It now contracts with the Whittier Police Department.

Other Agencies

Transit Services Bureau

Community Colleges Services Bureau

Court Services Division

  • Prisoner Transport Services with 31 of the 58 counties in California
  • Los Angeles County Marshal/Municipal Courts (Merged into LASD Court Services)

Contract Custody Services

Reserve Program

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department supplements its full time ranks with over 700 reserve deputies.

Like full-time deputies, reserve deputies are professionally trained and duly sworn law enforcement personnel. In most cases, reserves are assigned to the same duties as full-time deputies. Since reserve deputies have the same powers of arrest as full-time deputies they are required by law to meet the same hiring, background, medical and psychological standards as full-time deputies. Reserve deputies must first complete the state mandated training and then work assignments as their regular jobs permit. Reserve sheriff's deputies are issued a badge, an identification card, uniforms, a Beretta 92FS duty weapon, handcuffs, baton, and other necessary equipment. Reserve deputy sheriffs are either Level I Designated, Level I Non Designated or Level II. Level I Designated reserves have the same training and 24 hour peace officer authority as regular full time deputies and may carry their firearm concealed off duty without the need for a concealed weapons permit (CCW). Level I Non Designated and Level II reserve deputies have full peace officer powers when on duty, and, if issued a CCW permit, may choose to carry a concealed weapon when off duty. Reserve deputy sheriffs must volunteer 20 hours per month of their time with the regular compensation being one dollar per year. Reserve deputy sheriffs may also qualify for shooting bonus pay of up to $32.00 per month, and some paid special event assignments are occasionally available, as well as overtime for Level I deputies. Like full-time deputies, reserve deputy sheriffs serve at the will of the Sheriff, must obey all departmental regulations, but do not fall into the framework of the civil service system. Reserve deputies supplement the regular operations of the Sheriff's Department by working in their choice of Uniform Reserve (Patrol), Mounted Posse, Search and Rescue or as a Specialist.

LASD in Popular Culture

In the late 1950s, a short lived Dragnet-style television series, "Code 3", aired based on real cases (though names and locations were changed) from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The late Eugene Biscailuz, then Sheriff of Los Angeles County, was featured in a cameo tag line at the end of every episode.

Dan Raven was an police drama that ran on NBC from 1960 to 1961. It featured Skip Homeier as the titular character, a detective lieutenant assigned to the West Hollywoodmarker Sheriff's Station, whose cases often involved show business celebrities.

The department's Emergency Services Detail (ESD), which functions under the umbrella of the Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB), was depicted in the short lived television series, 240-Robert. The SEB also includes the Canine Services Detail (K-9), and the Special Enforcement Detail (SED), which is the department's special weapons team.

In September 2003, ABC premiered 10-8: Officers on Duty, a comedy/drama based on a rookie with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. The show lasted one season. The show's name was based on the police radio code for "on duty".

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Recruit Training Bureau is featured on Fox Reality show The Academy, documenting the day to day activities of the recruits and training staff of LASD Academy Class 355 and 368. The show aired from May 2007 to July 2008.

Past Sheriffs

See List of past Los Angeles County Sheriffs

See also


  1. LASD Website
  2. LASD Website
  4. KNX1070
  5. Cuza, Bobby. "Gadgets on Patrol Against Crime." Los Angeles Times 9 June 2000: B2.
  7. LASD Official site
  8. Mel Gibson LA Sheriff PSA on Youtube
  9. Did Cops Cover Up Mel Gibson Tirade? CBS News
  10. BBC News Report on Mel Gibson’s ‘Outburst’
  11. Mel Gibson: The Speed of Scandal by Allison Hope Weiner, New York Times, August 1, 2006
  12. LASD Website
  13. List of 10-8's Cast
  14. LASD Website
  16. Fox Reality - The Academy

External links

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