Sep 112018
So – the Jail, which I have written about a lot is also a disaster. The jail is also under the purview of Stan Sniff. Detailed in this article is a report about an inmate that was nearly beaten to death. The inmate later got a $6MM settlement.
On Feb. 18, 2015, 10 days after Soriano’s arrest, Jackson beat Soriano for 20 minutes. Three times during that confrontation, Soriano pressed the intercom button that was supposed to make a sound and trigger a light on a panel in a room where deputies monitored the panel and video monitors assigned to each cell.

But no one heard the audio signal because it had been disconnected “several years earlier,” Trujillo said. Additionally, deputies did not see the light on the panel or the beating being shown on the video monitor.

“It was really sad,” Trujillo said. “There was nowhere this guy could go. He had no chance.”

Soriano is in a permanent vegetative state as a result, Trujillo said.
Then when you add in the following, you will see that lawsuit costs are a huge problem for the county.

Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff is under pressure to reduce liability claims resulting from the actions of his deputies. (File photo by Mark Dustin, Contributing Photographer)

Riverside County officials are urging the Sheriff’s Department to do more to limit lawsuits that have  cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

The lawsuits have contributed greatly to an almost 100 percent increase in liability claims payouts and a more than doubling of liability insurance premiums in the past five years.

Sheriff Stan Sniff has said that lawsuits are to be expected in his profession, in which deputies sometimes use force to arrest suspects and pursue vehicles in high-traffic areas. But Chief Deputy Kevin Vest said in an interview Thursday, May 11, that evolving tactics, uniform-mounted cameras and new software that better tracks incidents could reduce the frequency and cost of litigation.

The county’s projected 2016-17 costs — $32 million on claims and $7.6 million on insurance in “general and auto liability” — come at a time when the county’s expenditures exceed its income.

“Without question, we need to do more to control that cost,” Paul McDonnell, the county’s finance director, told the Board of Supervisors at a budget overview on May 9.

While a number of county departments contribute to the lawsuit payouts, the Sheriff’s Department is responsible for “well over half,” Assistant CEO/Human Resources Director Mike Stock said during a budget presentation to the supervisors in September.

“I think we need to say we’re looking at sheriff for changing practices and training,” County Supervisor John Tavaglione said at that meeting. “Public safety needs to be addressed in a more aggressive manner in terms of training, in my opinion. Better tactics, time’s on their side, most of the time, and I think we could save a lot of money there.”

The county is grappling with creating a budget for next year while trying to pay for court-ordered improvements in inmate health care that could cost $40 million annually, high labor and pension costs and an expansion of the Indio jail.

The Sheriff’s Department has the most liability costs to control. Deputies’ use of force, vehicle collisions or other incidents have produced 31 of the 51 most recent payouts of at least $1 million, Stock said.

Those payouts often go well beyond $1 million. Four times since 2014, jury awards or settlements have resulted in the county and its insurer paying at least $5 million in cases related to the Sheriff’s Department.

The county is self-insured for general and auto liability, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, short-term disability, dental, unemployment and health insurance.

The county basically has a $3.5 million deductible on each claim. It must pay an additional $2 million after paying the first claim before insurance will kick in on subsequent claims, Stock said.

Other departments that have settled million-dollar general-liability claims include Riverside University Health System Medical Center, the Department of Public Social Services, the District Attorney’s Office and the Transportation & Land Management Agency.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to eliminate them,” said Vest, the sheriff’s chief deputy,  “but giving the county the means to dispose of them quicker and more efficiently is a huge goal.”

When the Sheriff’s Department was awarded a $577,900 grant for body-worn cameras in October 2016, part of that money was earmarked for software that will allow sheriff’s supervisors to more quickly collect information on uses of force by, and complaints against, deputies.

“It can be much more real time and much more accurate,” Vest said.

McDonnell said at the May 9 supervisors meeting, “The sheriff’s office is implementing a new tracking system which will identify officers who may be in need of some additional training in order to keep them on the straight and narrow.”

Vest, in the interview, put it differently.

By tracking trends in deputies’ actions, “It is something we are going to use to modify our existing training or create new classes,” he said.

Asked how the Sheriff’s Department could limit liability lawsuits, Vest focused on the effect of the video cameras’ role in more quickly resolving or disproving claims against the department, or disposing of them for lesser dollar amounts. Every patrol deputy is supposed to be outfitted with a camera by 2018.

Vest added that the department is creating new courses in tactical operations and trains deputies to work with mentally ill people, calm tense situations and drive more safely during pursuits.

Add this to the list of issues with Stan Sniff’s department.

  10 Responses to “Stan Sniff Update: Jail Lawsuit Disaster”

  1. Is it just me, or does the rank and file members of our department find the support of Stan Sniff by the retired members odd? I understand the likes of Ron Dye, Cois Byrd, Frank Taylor and Coleen Walker, to name just a few, who owe 960 hour/year CalPERS annuitant positions to Stan Sniff. But if you have bellied yourself up to the public trough for 30 years, and then rightfully moved into retirement for several years, why on earth would you stand against the working men and women of our organization?

    Each of the very old (60+ year-old) civilians who once wore a uniform in Riverside County are not fiends with the current rank and file staff, they can only receive the “state of the Department” through the rose-colored glasses of entrenched politicians and those who are at-will. The very fact these self-serving folks continue to haunt the proverbial “military base PX like a retired Sergeant Majors with no life;” long after they should have moved on makes their work legacy marginal, at best.

    If you are supporting Stan Sniff because he gave you an 11-10 on a DUI stop in 1978 and you owe him, fine.

    But don’t retire, suck up more public money in a 960 job because you got nothing better to do in your lives than wander around facilities as an “inspector” or “drone research specialist” for $60.00/hour, and say you are unbiased and less than self served. Show some ethics and integrity. Death comes for us all, don’t die ashamed of yourselves.

  2. Just think about this! You are a sworn deputy and work the jail for a few years before going to patrol and fail field training because your not competent, unsafe or reliable. The Sheriffs outlook is put them back in the jail as a non sworn all they have to do is push buttons and feed. Well they already proved themselves as being a non functioning member why take the chance of them being a liability? They come back to the jail work a pod and are disgruntle because they failed and do nothing but collect a check and cost the county a law suit. Cut your loss and let them go. Why pay someone $60,000 plus a year for failing any other place of employment would have said good bye. The jails should be staffed like Orange County with a lower wage employee that has no inmate contact and secured by sworn staff for emergencies. why have 600 plus non sworn that cant be used as an emergency resource in the field make 10% less than those who risk their lives daily? Cost saving in a time of budget cuts makes perfect sense.

  3. @Rich Cranium you’re correct about one thing. The jail shouldn’t be staffed with washed out Sworn Deputies. The jail shouldn’t have to deal with someone who failed FTO. It’s bad enough that the sworn deputies think their shit don’t stink. The jail staff aren’t inferior as you imply. Are there lops in Corrections, Yup. Are there Sworn lops, Yup.

    And for the corrections staff, they can’t park somewhere and dodge calls. They have to handle business. Again, it comes down to work ethic. It has nothing to do with your classification. As for your comment about putting your life on the line daily, tell that to Finch who was almost killed in the line of duty. Or the other corrections staff who have been attacked or assaulted. So your hero complex goes both ways.

    As far as you implying that Corrections is inferior to Sworn staff is humorous. It’s easy to arrest someone and deal with them for a few hours. While you puff your chest out, and tell them your a sworn deputy sheriff, and they better respect your authority. Then it’s off to the jail and you don’t see them again until their case goes to trial. If it goes to trial. Try dealing with murderers, rapist and other undesirable people for years. If they want to get you they know when and where you are. And if they want they could have some of their homies follow you home and get you then. And unlike sworn staff, CDs have to try and get a CCW to carry. Most don’t carry because they understand how respect works. Something a lot of sworn deputies don’t understand. As you have clearly demonstrated.

    As for your solution of staffing the jail with civilians with no inmate contact and having sworn staff respond when necessary. L.A. county did that. And how did that work out? Oh yeah, the sworn deputies were beating inmates. Costing the public millions in lawsuits. Sounds like a cost savings measure to me.

    And corrections staff are trained in evacuation plans, emergency plans for a natural disaster, and how to deal with large scale riots. They are also trained in BLS and first aid. However, you paint them out to be button pushing monkeys who are incompetent.

    In my opinion there shouldn’t be any sworn staff in the jails. It should be staffed and run by corrections for corrections. A CD can’t promote to sergeant and go to a patrol station, so why the hell do they send sworn sergeants to the jails. Some of them understand the jail and take the lead from the corrections sergeants. Others think they know what’s going on, despite never working the jails. These are the ones who create unnecessary conflicts for corrections staff who work the jail everyday.

    Sworn and Corrections wear the same patch. If a criminal sees a CD and sworn standing together he will hate them equally, because they are both cops. Are you more narrow minded than a criminal?

    Stand United, sworn or corrections, we have all dedicated our lives to the greater good. We have all missed holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. So, do not push your brother or sister down to push yourself up.

    Stay safe and watch your six.

  4. Hey all you fucking retired mopes who came back to suck the hind tit of the county, listen to what Desert Cop is saying. Take your fat pensions and go do something else. If you aren’t talented enough to learn another skill, then go pass out shopping carts at Walmart. Stop sucking on the freebies that the corrupt fucking liar Sniff is handing out. You’re like a bunch of disgusting fucking maggots feeding off a piece of rotten meat.

    Learn how to do something else because you are definitely not a necessity for the sheriff’s department. Your little free handouts will come to an end very soon when a new sheriff is voted in. The new sheriff is going to remove all you leaches and sear the wounds shut.

  5. Ret Captain Taylor attends Coachella Valley Assoc of Governments Public Safety meetings. During the Pledge of Allegiance he mumbeles thru it and doesnt put his hand over his heart. Its offensive. He gets money for the drone program. As a retired sheriff. But wont respect our flag.

  6. @Fly on the wall. Yeah, don’t compare sworn and none sworn. The jail is controlled compared to the street. Nice try though.

    @Nice Try – failures and corruption are constants regardless of venue. Own it.

  7. @Harrington – I feel bad you must continue suffering Frank Taylor. For the most part, he is tucked away from making drastic mistakes within the larger organization since retiring. He has returned to Stan Sniff to fabricate aspects of the failing drone program and generally mutters to himself up and down the hallways of our patrol station grabbing at resources to fly his drone in the desert. I’ve worked with Frank Taylor for years, sadly nothing he created or has envisioned for the organization remains viable and most was reverted in a positive way immediately after he left. His work products were always unremarkable. Luckily every assignment tenders a plaque for service spent as you are rotated through, there would be little record of him. His walls filled with participation plaques would be bare next to his Little League participation trophies.

    Stan Sniff louds himself as the diversity Sheriff, can’t argue that. In the curious case of Frank Taylor, we see that Stan Sniff makes a place for those with mental uncertainty at the table also.

  8. Exactly, he muttered thro the Pledge of Allegiance and cant even properly dress himself I suppose 9am is too early to get dressed. Its an embarrassment to RSO whenever he goes to the microphone and rambles about the “drone program” updates. He never provides any real info. Just stuff lke “we flew the drone “ at a practice session and bla bla bla. Sniff looks st him in awe like its some phenominal progrees. Im thinking but isnt that what drones do already, they fly? So whats the big update? He never makes any sense. No one knows what the drone program is all about. But he clearly announces he was a retired Sheriffs Captain. So they just let him ramble on. Yea he mutters a lot.

    Someone approached me and told me its well known he expected sexual favors for promotions at the Indio jail when he was a Sgt.
    He also sits on Jan Harnicks city public safety commission.

    If what they say is true do we really want him involved in policies?

  9. @nice try CD. You clearly don’t understand. As you clearly demonstrated you have an inferiority complex. Your comments show a lack of common sense. Nothing in this life is controlled. There is only the perception of control.

    The jail appears controlled, because the inmates choose to let you believe that. And it can go off at any time. Your comments show you lack a basic understanding of the politics at play amongst the inmate population. And just how dangerous the jails can become. Jail staff are surrounded by hundreds of criminals with nothing but time and opportunity.

    The difference between you and me is I respect people regardless of their position in life. This is a foreign concept to you. Hopefully, when you grow up you’ll understand. Until then do yourself a favor and be quiet. You’ll save yourself some heartache.

    I’m on here to point out the corruption and non sense that has occurred under Sniff. You and a couple others get on here and cry about big patch little patch. Stay on task and expose the truth. Don’t try and come in with your emotional issues and start trying to create division. Save that for your Therapist.

    Stay safe and watch your six.

  10. There are disgruntled people throughout the department, sworn & non sworn alike. Name one time a sworn deputy fucked up and you can recite the same for a non sworn debacle. We are all human and make mistakes. Let’s try and learn from them so they aren’t repeated or get our brothers or sisters hurt out there.

    Some factions of society have turned on us and have their own twisted political agendas, let’s not turn on each other too, especially on a day this country was attacked and many people lost their lives.


    He’s aware of the turmoil Sniffcompoop and Wrecking Crew have caused. They are probably reading these comments all hard because it’s what turns them on: a divided department. Easier to control and manipulate.

    United we stand, divided we fall.

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