A practice of issuing official looking badges to local elected leaders in Los Angeles has come to a swift if not tardy conclusion. Approximately 200 badges will be recalled after a picture was released showing at least one example of abuse.

In theory, the politicians’ badges are used to help gain access to restricted areas during emergencies. However, when one Cudahy city council member allegedly put his badge on the blouse of a girl in a night club who then posed for a picture with two hand guns, the potential for abuse was sharply highlighted. In fact, cities cross the state were warned in 2007 that the practice of issuing the badges could result in abuse and misuse.

Then-Attorney General Jerry Brown wrote that the badges could allow non-police personnel misrepresent themselves as peace officers. His concern was that the badges of peace officers and these honorary badges differed very slightly. For instance, the badge that was pinned to the woman’s blouse in Cudahy has the same six-pointed shape as a deputy’s badge, but says “City Official Los Angeles County.”

From the Los Angeles Times:

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which has faced criticism for handing out official-looking credentials to civilians with no law enforcement duties, is recalling an estimated 200 badges the department gave to local politicians, according to documents and interviews.

Sheriff Lee Baca‘s decision to recall the badges comes two weeks after the FBI arrested three city officials in Cudahy on bribery charges. In support of the charges, the U.S. attorney’s office released a photo of a smiling young woman in a Cudahy nightclub, brandishing two handguns and wearing a councilman’s badge on her chest.

Read the full article here.