Cite a lack of confidence
By OW Staff
Two members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors called Friday for the resignation of county Probation Department chief Adolfo Gonzales, following a series of concerns about the agency’s operation and treatment of youth in the department’s care.
“I have lost confidence in Chief Gonzales’ ability to run our Probation Department,” board Chairwoman Janice Hahn said in a statement. “His ineffective leadership is hurting both the youth in our care and our staff who deserve better. I believe the best way forward is for Chief Gonzales to step down.”
Supervisor Kathryn Barger echoed the concerns, saying the department is in “crisis and has consistently failed to correct increasingly unsafe conditions for youth and staff, chronic understaffing, and abysmal conditions for the youth under its supervision and care.”
“We are nowhere near the level of rehabilitation and reform that our board has envisioned,” Barger said in a statement. “We can’t continue to wait for change to happen — we need to drive change. That change must start from the top.”
There was no immediate response to a request for comment from the Probation Department. The county’s Probation Oversight Commission on Thursday, Feb. 23, voted 5-2 to call for Gonzales’ resignation. Supervisor Hilda Solis issued a statement on Feb. 24 that fell short of calling for Gonzales’ resignation, but said recent concerns make her “question and doubt whether Chief Gonzales and Chief Deputy (Karen) Fletcher should continue leading this department.”
The calls come one week after the Los Angeles Times reported the launch of a criminal investigation by the District Attorney’s Office into the actions of several probation officers caught on video piling on top of a teenager at a juvenile probation camp in 2020 during an argument that escalated into a physical altercation.
The county’s juvenile lockups have also been criticized in recent years by state corrections officials for being unsuitable to house offenders. Late last year, the department abruptly moved all detainees out of Central Juvenile Hall over concerns about conditions at the facility.
Gonzales has led the county Probation Department since Feb. 1, 2021, and previously served as chief probation officer for San Diego County.