By Edwin Folven, 3/29/2012
Jeffrey Stenroos, the former Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department officer who was convicted for making a false claim that he was shot by an assailant while on duty last year, was released from custody Monday after his family agreed to pay $309,000 in restitution to the City of Los Angeles.
The restitution payment was the full amount being sought by the City Attorney’s Office to cover the expense of an extensive manhunt that was staged after Stenroos claimed he was shot on Jan. 19, 2011 near El Camino High School in Woodland Hills. A passerby found Stenroos suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest, and the school cop told police that he had been shot by a gunman while investigating a stolen car. The report prompted a manhunt involving approximately 550 officers, and an eight-square-mile portion of the surrounding area was put on lockdown while the investigation progressed. In the weeks after the incident, investigators noticed discrepancies in Stenroos’ account. The eight-year veteran of the LAUSD police department later admitted that he accidentally shot himself.
Last September, Stenroos was convicted of five felonies, including committing insurance fraud, workers’ compensation fraud, preparing false documentary evidence and planting false evidence. He was also convicted of one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency.
According to Shiara Davila-Morales, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Stenroos was sentenced in December to five years in county jail, and was ordered to pay restitution. The judge stipulated, however, that if the restitution was paid, Stenroos could be eligible for release. He was released on $1,000 bail on Monday pending a re-sentencing hearing on April 18. Davila-Morales said prosecutors have agreed to allow Stenroos to be sentenced to time served, and be released permanently at the April 19 hearing. He will remain on probation for five years, and must complete 400 hours of community service.