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Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies who were taken off duty start to return

Mercury News 10/6/2022 Rick Hurd, Bay Area News Group
Alameda County Sheriff's Office badge. © Dylan Bouscher/Bay Area News Group/TNS Alameda County Sheriff's Office badge.

More than a dozen Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies taken off active duty last week because of unsatisfactory scores on their psychological exams have retaken the test and been returned to full duty, a spokesman for the agency said.

Sixteen officers had re-taken the exam by and were cleared to active duty again after passing it, sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Ray Kelly said via text Thursday. More deputies are expected to return within the next week, he said.

Last week, the sheriff’s office acknowledged that 47 deputies were told to turn in their guns and move to desk duty after an internal audit revealed that each was hired despite failing the psychological test standards established by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. Most of those deputies worked at the county’s Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

Kelly did not comment any further Thursday on the reinstatement of the deputies. He said the sheriff’s office will address the matter after all of the other affected deputies take the test.

The revelation about the deputies came after authorities charged a sheriff’s deputy with two counts of murder in the execution-style slayings of Benison Tran, 57, and his wife, Maria Tran, 42, inside their Dublin home. The killings during the early hours of Sept. 7 happened less than two hours after the deputy, Devin Williams Jr., worked a shift at the jail.

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The sheriff’s office hired Williams in September 2021 after he failed to pass his probationary period with the Stockton Police Department.

Kelly last month said that Williams was “the reason for the audit, and he’s the reason we discovered the background discrepancies.”

Alameda County Chief Public Defender Brendon Woods last month said the revelation “could compromise hundreds of cases — closed and pending.”

The sheriff’s office did not release a list of the deputies released from active duty. Kelly said they received their same pay and benefits while sidelined.

Staff writer Jakob Rodgers contributed to this story.

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