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Undersheriff Allegedly Demanded Commander Tweak Promotion Scores

Retired Sheriff's Chief Ronnie Williams signed a sworn statement stating that in about 2004, current Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and Larry Waldie — the former one — gave him an order "to make sure certain individuals were promoted to lieuten

A retired Los Angeles County sheriff's chief has accused department top brass of forcing him to tweak test scores to ensure certain cops received promotions, it was reported Tuesday.

Retired Sheriff's Chief Ronnie Williams signed a sworn statement stating that in about 2004, current Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and Larry Waldie — the former one — gave him an order "to make sure certain individuals were promoted to lieutenant and certain individuals were not promoted to lieutenant," the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Specifically, the scores of the favored individuals were superficially increased and those individuals were promoted," Williams said in a July 2011 declaration, the Times reported.

Williams' allegations come just as the Sheriff's Department is dealing with criticism over its handling of promotions.

"A blue ribbon commission that investigated allegations of violence in the county's jails reported in recent weeks that a perception exists within the department that loyalty to Tanaka ... drives promotions rather than merit," the Times reported.

The commission criticized Tanaka -- the elected mayor of Gardena -- for accepting political contributions from sheriff's employees and said that donations "'furthered perceptions of patronage and favoritism in promotion and assignment decisions,"' the Times reported.

In interviews with the Times staff, some commission members described Tanaka's conduct more as poor management than misconduct.

Williams' sworn declaration made no mention of campaign contributions, the Times reported, but instructing someone to improperly influence who gets promoted could amount to misconduct.

In his statement, Williams said that he was a commander at the time he was given the order by Tanaka and Waldie, who retired last year.

Tanaka and Waldie declined to comment. In a written statement, a sheriff's spokesperson denied misconduct in the promotions process, saying "'all policies and procedures were followed in regards to promotions.

"There are protocols in place, including Civil Service rules, to ensure an impartial process,"' the Times reported the spokesperson saying.

The Times article goes on to state that much of Williams' declaration relates to an unrelated lawsuit filed by three sherriff's employees who claimed to be victims of discrimination and retaliation; the case was settled last month for $780,000.

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