When you hear of ‘secret societies,’ some of your first thoughts may include members of the Skull & Bones initiated in colleges, or the wealthy elite who may control influential business ventures. These kinds of secret organizations usually have a powerful hand in matters that involve the average public. Most recently, the Los Angeles County Police Department is dealing with an internal issue centered on a ‘secret society’ comprised of deputies, who supposedly underwent an initiation that the department sees as a violation of their core values. How can you trust those put into place as proper authorities when they belong to ‘secret societies’ of their own?
Seven sheriff deputies employed in Los Angeles County have received word that their department has intentions of firing them for creating and becoming members of a secret law enforcement ‘clique’ accused of engaging in unethical conduct. Letters were sent out informing the deputies of the department’s desire to fire the officers during the first week of February 2013.
The accused above-the-law deputies were part of the anti-gang unit called the Sheriff’s Gang Enforcement Team, but when they were amongst themselves or on the streets, they assumed the name of the Jump Out Boys. They had been a part of an internal investigation related to the activities of the group.
Referring to police, detectives, undercover cops or other law enforcement workers as ‘Jump Out Boys’ is nothing new. It is a slang term widely recognized on the ‘streets’ and within gang culture. Swat teams and officers that conduct stakeouts inside of a surveillance vehicle are also referred by this term. When a crime is in progress or they are ready to apprehend a suspect, the officers will ‘jump out’ to take the criminals by force.
However, these seven deputies are accused of doing much more than the usual ‘jump out’ on suspects. The Jump Out Boys underwent an initiation that included swearing to their own oath, as well as getting matching tattoos. The creed that they followed gave the impression that the group embraced shootings. Law enforcement officials became concerned that the group violated important department values.
While gangs and other people with their ear to the street may have already been well aware of the existence of an elite police gang unit in L.A., it wasn’t until the discovery of a pamphlet that led to the rest of the world catching on. A code of conduct is described and centers on deputies who have been involved in shootings. The document suggests that the group of deputies see shootings as a badge of honor.
The Los Angeles Times reported:
“The document described a code of conduct for the Jump Out Boys, a clique of hard-charging, aggressive deputies who gain more respect after being involved in a shooting, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation. The pamphlet is relatively short, sources said, and explains that deputies earn admission into the group through the endorsement of members.”
Los Angeles has seen an increase in gang-related shootings, and more officers have been claiming the need to pull their guns (and shoot to kill) in various instances. Overall, the LAPD has as shady past and even shadier clouds of doubt hanging over the heads of current officers. For example, an allegedly former member of the Lynwood Vikings (a gang comprised of “neo-Nazi, white supremacists”) is employed within the Sheriff’s Department. Who would trust an officer who wears the mark of the Vikings on his tattooed ankle?
Secret societies and elite organizations within the police department is not a new concept. While several Hollywood films have touched upon the subjects ”“ there is no doubt that various brotherhoods are created and exist as a way to cope with the job, as well as execute their duties ”“ sometimes in a manner that doesn’t stay in line with legal protocol. We’ve seen these types of officers in movies, such as ‘Training Day’ (with Denzel Washington), ‘Streets Kings’ (with Keanu Reeves), ‘Brooklyn’s Finest’ (with Richard Gear) and ’16 Blocks’ (with Bruce Willis). Corruption and unnecessary violence are known to run rampant through many precincts.
It also wasn’t too long ago that another gang-like organization dubbed the ‘3,000 Boys’ was exposed to operate within the Sheriff’s department in December of 2010. This group were known to use gang-like hand gestures, and would ‘earn their ink’ after breaking the bones of inmates.