LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors offered to pay $27 million to settle lawsuits by jail inmates who said they were jailed too long, unlawfully searched, and in some cases wrongly incarcerated because of erroneous warrants.

Judges involved in the inmates' suits must still approve the settlement. The lawsuits were filed by 62 inmates but the plaintiffs' attorneys said other inmates held at the jail may also be entitled to payments.

The county sheriff's department also agreed to make policy changes to avoid future mistakes.

``It's not pleasing for me to stand up in front of the county of Los Angeles and talk about a $27 million judgment in those terms,'' Sheriff Lee Baca said Tuesday. ``My greater wish would have been that the Sheriff's Department did the right thing when these claims were coming in at the earlier stages of their existence and that we quickly got to the problem and fixed it.''

Barry Litt, a plaintiffs' attorney, said he was glad the department was trying to make amends.

Also Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council approved a $3.75 million settlement for a woman who was fired by the city police department after she testified against it in a lawsuit. Theresa Schell was a witness for officers who sued the department, saying they were not properly paid for working overtime during the city's 1992 riots.

Schell was demoted and fired, and later sued. In June, a jury ordered the city to pay her $3.6 million. The jury also ordered Police Chief Bernard Parks and Cmdr. Daniel Watson, who mediates employee claims, to pay $500,000 and $250,000, respectively, finding the two ranking officers ``guilty of malice or oppression'' in their dealings with Schell.

Attorneys for Schell and the city later agreed to the $3.75 million payment, which required the council's approval.

The officers' suit, settled for $40 million, charged that the department didn't provide timely payments to hundreds of its officers for overtime they logged during the riots.