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Nearly 50 deputies in one California sheriff’s agency have been relieved of their police duties following “unsatisfactory” ratings on psychological examinations dating back to 2016, weeks after a deputy who previously failed a psychological exam shot and killed a married couple.
In a Sept. 23 letter, Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern claims a recent internal audit said 47 deputies had received a “D. Not Suited” evaluation from January 2016 through the present.
The move means the impacted deputies will be stripped of their arresting powers and firearms, but they will retain their pay and benefits, Fox San Francisco reported.
Ahern said another psych exam would be scheduled and that his intention is to “resolve this issue as quickly as possible” and “return to full duty status once you obtain a ‘suitable’ finding.”
Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Ray Kelly told the news outlet that retests would occur in the next “couple months” but that he had no idea how many of the 47 deputies would be able to get their jobs back.
The re-tests would be conducted by a psychologist who doesn’t work for the sheriff who is also credited with the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
The letter came weeks after former Alameda County deputy Devin Williams Jr. shot and killed a married couple inside their home following his shift at the Santa Rita jail.
He had been romantically involved with the female, who worked as a nurse.
The news outlet reported that sources said Williams failed his psychological exam and because of liability issues, the sheriff is now auditing who else in the department might have also failed.
Sources who spoke to the news outlet said the psychological exam process under Ahern has been flawed. At a news Sept. 7 news conference, Kelly reportedly said that Williams passed all the reference and psychological tests and that there was nothing in his background that would have prevented him from being hired as a deputy, according to the news outlet.