In an attempt to curb the formation of deputy gangs, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna announced a new internal office that will oversee protocols.

It is called the Office of Constitutional Policing and will be directed by Eileen Decker, former president of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners.

“This new office will be tasked with helping to eradicate all deputy gangs from this dept. in collaboration with the undersheriff, the civilian oversight commission… and our inspector general,” Luna said in a Wednesday press conference. “This office will help improve our policies, procedures and operations to ensure this department is engaging in constitutional practices.”

Newly-voted Sheriff Luna commended the work put in by the Sheriff’s Dept., but added there was room for improvement when it came to accountability in terms of alleged deputy gangs and lawsuits connected to the department.

The allegations of deputy gangs within the L.A. County Sheriff’s was often denied by former Sheriff Alex Villanueva, but has been a point of emphasis since Luna took over this year.

“The public, the community believes that this is occurring,” Luna said about the potential of deputy gangs. “At the end of the day, we’re accountable to our community and the county, and until we prove otherwise, the problem exists.”

Decker is a former U.S. attorney appointed under the administration of President Barack Obama, a deputy mayor for public safety and the Dept. of Homeland Security, as well as a federal prosecutor before that.

“The department is committed to protecting the people of Los Angeles County and their rights,” Decker said Wednesday. “I will be equally committed to ensuring that this department has appropriate policies, practices and training in place, in order to follow them in service to our community.”

In October 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law in response to allegations of L.A. Sheriff’s deputy gangs, with the bill being supported by former Sheriff Villanueva.

“I am proud to be a sponsor of this legislation, which is based on the current Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department policy I implemented in February of this year,” Villanueva said after the law was signed. “Our current Department policy is consistent with this new law and is already being enforced. This law will serve to foster organizational change and hold employees to a higher standard of conduct. We must remain hyper vigilant that benign subgroups do not devolve into cliques that may dishonor the badge.”

The law allows for the termination of deputies who were proven to have displayed tattoos with symbols of internal gangs.

While Luna did not imply that there is any evidence of deputy gangs in the current landscape of the department, he said the office would help ensure it through its policies, training and “systems of accountability.”

“I want people to talk about the people who work here and the work that we do, as opposed to talking about gangs and deputies,” Luna said. “That, hopefully, will be in the past… but it’s up to us to make that happen.”

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.