You might not need any stinkin' badges, but you wanted those badges.

Too bad. The L.A. County Sheriff's Department is taking back 200 special shields given to local politicians. The badges say “City Official Los Angeles County,” but they look like regular law enforcement credentials.

That of course, could lead to abuse, not to mention longstanding allegations that L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca handed out the items to pols he favored, including political donors:

The Los Angeles Times broke the news of the badge recall and noted that it happened only a few weeks after the U.S. Attorneys' Office in L.A. released a photo of a woman sporting just such a badge, which belonged to Cudahy Councilman Osvaldo Conde.

He was one of three Cudahy city officials arrested in June by federal authorities for allegedly accepting bribes from a marijuana dispensary operator who wanted a smooth opening in that town.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore denied to the Times that the badge recall had anything to do with the embarrassing photo of Conde's shield in action at a club or party.

He said it was a reaction to the 2007 warning by then Attorney General Jerry Brown that handing out such badges had potential for abuse.

So why did this take 5 years to happen?

“That's a good question,” Whitmore said.

[@dennisjromero / / @LAWeeklyNews]

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