State to audit all police agencies in 3 Bay Area counties after 47 deputies found 'unsuitable'

Community activists protest the actions of Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern who hired 47 deputies who received a "D. Not Suited" on their psychological exams. Oct. 5, 2022. 

The state agency vested with the power of overseeing the hiring and training of law enforcement in California will now be auditing every police department in three Bay Area counties stemming from revelations that 47 Alameda County sheriff's deputies were hired despite getting "not suitable" marks on their psychological exams.

Meagan Poulos, spokeswoman for the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, told KTVU that a letter was sent to all the police departments that operate within Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties, asking them to make their hiring files available dating back to 2016. 

The POST letter indicates "certain anomalies regarding peace officer background files in your region of the state" and asks that each department make its files available by Monday. 

POST did not just send letter to sheriff's offices, but also to every individual department in those three counties, including Oakland, Hayward, Richmond, Antioch and Pinole, for example, 

The review will not be statewide at this point, Poulos said, because there is no indication that what happened in Alameda County is being replicated throughout California. 

Poulos said she had no idea how long this review will take. 

"We have a team deploying now," she said. "We're fact gathering. We have no idea how many files this will entail." 

The San Francisco Standard first reported the expanded POST audit, following a KTVU story exposing that Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern had relieved 47 deputies of their guns and badges because they received "Ds," and "not suited" on their POST pysch exam since 2016.

That move was prompted by the fact that former deputy Devin Williams Jr. failed his psych exam, sources told KTVU, before allegedly killing a husband and wife in their Dublin home on Sept. 7. Williams had been having an affair with the wife.

Ahern has defended his position, saying that POST had once allowed him to hire candidates with a D result, though Poulos said that isn't so. 

To date, 12 deputies have returned to duty; at least three of them had passed their second re-test, which had been missed in the initial review, Lt. Ray Kelly said. 

But it's unclear how the remaining nine deputies returned to work so quickly.

Poulos said that obviously, POST consultants will be reviewing the reinstatement of these Alameda County sheriff's deputies. 

This week, community groups asked Attorney General Rob Bonta to weigh in and for Ahern to step down before his term ends in January and for the deputies not to be rehired. 

There is no indication that any of these community demands will be met. 

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez