The move comes just as photos were released of a young woman at a Cudahy nightclub holding what appear to be two handguns while brandishing a badge from the Sheriff's Department. According to investigators, the badge belongs to Cudahy Councilman Osvaldo Conde, one of three Cudahy city officials charged with bribery two weeks ago.
The U.S. Attorney's Office released the photos as part of their investigation into the trio. However, the Sheriff's Department said that's not why it is doing away with the civilian badges, which have the same design as the ones issued to deputies, but instead say "city official."
Steve Whitmore, spokesman for Sheriff Lee Baca, said it was a coincidence that the photos were released just as the department was recalling all the badges that were issued to elected officials in the more than 40 cities that contract the Sheriff's Department for law enforcement services.
Whitmore had harsh words for the episode in Cudahy, calling it a "vulgar incident."
Whitmore said the department has recalled the badges in accordance with an attorney general ruling from 2007. He said bureaucracy got in the way of implementing the recall, which is why it took the department four years to begin collecting them.