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Former LAPD Officer to Lead Probation Dept.

April 19, 2006|Noam N. Levey | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles County supervisors turned to a retired Los Angeles police commander Tuesday to lead the county's troubled juvenile detention system.

Robert Taylor takes over the Probation Department, the nation's third-largest juvenile system, as it struggles with violence in its halls and camps, a rash of escapes, and persistent criticism that it is doing little to help the thousands of juvenile offenders in its care.

As chief probation officer, Taylor also will assume responsibility for the county's system of monitoring adult offenders who have been released from custody.

Taylor, 63, joined the Probation Department only last month. But he has spent more than three decades in law enforcement, including 29 years at the Los Angeles Police Department.

And in his brief time with the county department, which has an annual budget of more than $550 million, Taylor has indicated he plans to implement sweeping reforms.

The county already has increased funding for the department, and may add more next year to address long-running staffing shortages in the juvenile detention system.

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