L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. spending $300,000 on switch to gold belt buckles

L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell has a great idea.  He's going to spend $300,000 on switching the color of sheriff's metal pieces on their uniforms from silver to gold.

All the little bits of metal.  From the belt buckles to the little pins and buttons, they'll all be changed to gold to match the gold sheriff star.

This is going to cost $300,000...what a stupid waste of money.

McDonnell says the change is important for keeping a professional look for deputies, but many in the department think this is a gross misuse of money at a time when they're already dealing with more important issues.

The agency is facing a staff shortage and a recurring budget deficit.  And for the past several years, they've kept about 1,000 professional staff and 300 deputy positions unfilled in order to get past an annual $250-million shortfall.

 Det. Ron Hernandez, president of the Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, told the L.A. Times:

“This [expenditure] is something that would be better suited to a department that’s running like a well-oiled machine, but not a department that’s in turmoil."

But, McDonnell continued to defend his decision to spiff up the uniforms, saying:

“The first impression somebody gets of one of our deputies in the field is what they look like when they approach. Are they squared-away looking? Do they have their gear in place? Are they physically fit?  Am I gonna run? Am I gonna fight? What am I gonna do?  Often our deputies are in situations where they’re all by themselves, and they need to exude command presence."

Maybe that's true, but c'mon.  This seems pretty ridiculous, right?

Read more at the L.A. Times.

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