Report: drunken deputy incidents increasing

LOS ANGELES /*Mike Gennaco*/, the chief attorney with the county /*Office of Internal Review*/, said that from January to May in 2010 there were 33 alcohol-related incidents involving /*sheriff's*/ deputies.

In one case, a supervisor allegedly got drunk and fell down while evacuating residents during a wildfire.

"The alcohol-related incidents have jumped out for several months now," Gennaco said. "We've been working with the department to get a handle on this to turn the tide. So far, the numbers continue to rise."

Most were DWIs, but that figure also includes several instances of deputies who were drunk on duty.

"In fact, it's 37 percent higher than this time last year," Gennaco said.

Sheriff's department spokesman /*Steve Whitmore*/ said the department doesn't know what those numbers have increased.

"Maybe it's a cultural phenomenon," he said. "Alcohol certain is a problem in our society."

"(Sheriff Lee Baca) is focused on this like a laser beam," Whitmore added. "He's talking about increasing penalties where persons involved in alcohol-related incidents can be terminated.

The report, which will be released Wednesday details the case of an unnamed deputy who was drunk when he ran a red light and crashed his patrol car into another vehicle, injuring two people.

That deputy is still on duty.

"He did receive a significant suspension," Gennaco said. "He's still wearing a badge."

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