The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office relieved 47 deputies of their badges and guns and placed them on desk duty after an audit of their pre-employment psychological evaluations revealed scores too low to allow them continue to work in law enforcement, according to NBC Bay Area.
Thirty of the deputies worked at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, and 17 were on assignment elsewhere in Alameda county.
The audit was initiated following a double-homicide allegedly committed by one of the department’s own several weeks ago, when 24-year-old Deputy Devon Williams was arrested in the killing a husband and wife in their Dublin, Northern California home.
Williams reportedly had had a relationship with the woman he allegedly murdered and had failed his law enforcement psychological exam.
After the arrest, the Sheriff’s Office audited all hires since 2016.
“It’s been heartbreaking to have to bring in these individuals, especially the ones who have been here a long period of time since 2016—and basically telling them we’re suspending your peace officer duties,” Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Ray Kelly NBC.
The mass suspension is shocking but necessary, some say.
“You have the sheriff’s department essentially giving officers a free pass to carry a gun and a badge to do police work when they are completely unqualified and a failed one of the key components of whether you can be trusted with a gun and a badge which is to be psychologically stable,” civil rights attorney Adante Pointer told ABC7.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that psychological testing standards have changed since 2016, and that the 47 officers put on desk duty will be re-evaluated. The department also said the deputies’ earlier, insufficient scores were due to a lack of maturity—not necessarily hidden psychiatric issues.
“A lot of young people out of college don’t do as well on the psychological exam as someone who has much more life experience,” said Sgt. Kelly. “This has nothing to do with substance abuse issues or mental disorders or diagnoses. We believe testing scores will go up based on the number of years of service.”
One officer has already been reinstated thanks to a later exam. The remaining 46 will be reevaluated by a private psychiatrist over the next few weeks.
“We are working hard to get them to the appointments and get the test done and return everybody back to full duty,” said Kelly.