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Updated: LA County Sheriff Lee Baca to Leave Post

By City News Service

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca announced today that he will retire as head of the beleaguered Sheriff's Department at the end of January.

"I've been proud and honored to serve the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the people of this greatest of counties, Los Angeles County, for the past 48 years," Baca said, his voice occasionally cracking with emotion. "I can't even imagine anyone working 48 years at anything, but I've done that, which has made this decision in my life probably the most difficult."

Baca, 71, was first elected in 1998 and was facing a tough re-election campaign this year for his fifth term, including a challenge from one of his former deputies.

He denied that his decision to step down was prompted by the possibility of federal charges against him. Eighteen current and former deputies were recently indicted on a variety of charges, including mistreating jail inmates.   "My decision is based on the highest of concern for the future of the sheriff's department," Baca said.

He said he was recommending that the Board of Supervisors appoint Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald to oversee the department once he steps aside.

Baca hailed members of the Sheriff's Department for helping bring crime to record lows.

"They have conducted themselves with the utmost integrity and professionalism resulting in yet another year of historic crime reductions in nearly half a century. In my opinion, your Sheriff's Department is the greatest law enforcement agency in the world. I want to thank the men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for their hard work, dedication and their daily sacrifices to serve the great people of this county. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say we love the people of this county, and we do it every day without exception. And to the people of the county, I extend my deepest gratitude for you allowing me to serve you for the past 48 years."

He later added: "I may have run 70,000 miles in my lifetime, but i know I'm 72 years old in May and I don't see myself as the future, I see myself as part of the past."

Baca had announced Monday that he would support a citizens' commission to oversee department operations.     He described the citizens' commission as "consistent with my view on strengthening transparency and accountability."

In December, the Los Angeles Times reported that the department hired dozens of officers in 2010 despite evidence of significant misconduct found during their background checks.

Federal prosecutors filed charges against current and former deputies in December, accusing them of beating jail inmates and visitors and trying to intimidate an FBI agent.

The charges related to a long-standing corruption investigation of the jail system, which is administered by the sheriff's department. The department is also facing civil lawsuits relating to the actions of some of the deputies charged with misconduct.

Additionally, the U.S. Justice Department last year accused sheriff's deputies of engaging in widespread unlawful searches of homes, improper detentions and unreasonable force as Antelope Valley authorities conducted an effort to discriminate against African Americans who received low-income subsidized housing.

At the local level, the sheriff's department was under criticism by a blue-ribbon commission appointed by the Board of Supervisors to examine allegations of jail abuses and was facing the prospect of official oversight, with the board last month approving the appointment of the county's first Inspector-General.

Max Huntsman, a former deputy supervisor of the public integrity division of the Los Angeles District Attorney's office started his new position with the county Jan. 2.

Huntsman had previously prosecuted public corruption cases in Los Angeles, as well as investigating law enforcement officers and police use-or- forces cases.

Baca had given no previous indication of his intention to stand down in the face of negative publicity.

Baca was facing at least four declared challengers in a two-stage re- election this year, with a primary election on June 3, and a potential general election on Nov. 4.


rubberband January 07, 2014 at 07:18 PM
And Dan, you said it with way more class than I. GOOD RIDDANCE, Mr. Baca...from one of the people who know more than you'll admit to.
Jor January 08, 2014 at 09:35 PM
Smells like Liberal politics hard at work to discredit anyone who doesn't think like them, again.
rubberband January 09, 2014 at 08:24 AM
Jor, it's true....check where you have put your snozz, dude. Dan and I are probably polar opposites...he's jocular and zany, given to flights of fancy, REALLY liberal and...o horse crap....just playing, Hi Dan! Happy New Year, Sir!......Dan is not liberal (from my view point) and on some issues I am so NOT liberal it's not even funny to staunch conservatives....but it is not a liberal/conservative thing for us here...I'm an issue guy and I get along fine with Dan Crandell, most of my friends are WAY more conservative than I...(Hi Buzz)...Look, Baca is a lying a-hole... and he is gonna wrap his hands around some fat stacks of retirement cash and bennies and RUN. He's in the glue, and some getting out now was a good idea for him and us. So if you are trying to pick a fight, it won't work here. We most likely won't respond the way you want: (Dan Cranell won't PLAY, FOOL!) and I'll just get all ADHD distracted and start posting recipes for beef rib rub and au gratin potatoes that KILL they are so good. Shoo. Go on, shoo...
rubberband January 09, 2014 at 08:26 AM
Killer Ribs: This rub combines the flavors of sweet and heat. You can adjust the heat by using mild or medium chili powder. If you really want to make spice it up, then add an extra tablespoon of cayenne. This is a perfect rub for great BBQ Beef Ribs. ----Ingredients: 1/4 cup paprika 1/4 cup mild or medium chili powder 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup ground black pepper 1 tablespoon cayenne 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon salt -----Preparation: Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Apply about 2 tablespoons of rub to each side of the rack. Prepare smoker and add ribs. Stolen from the internets. I love you , internets.
Jor January 09, 2014 at 02:28 PM
Guys, I get what your saying about Baca. That's your opinion and its all good, but I've seen this movie before. Not trying to pick a fight either. Peace, Love and BBQ.
Liz January 09, 2014 at 04:15 PM
I am very glad he is stepping down. He has done some dirty things and one involves what he has said about tanaka . I'm waiting for official word as to who I will be voting for as the new sheriff in town. I have insiders help you see.
Liz January 09, 2014 at 04:16 PM
Rb I have used a rub similar and yes it is fantastic. I also make my own BBQ sauce
rubberband January 09, 2014 at 05:06 PM
SEE!? Peace! It's possible! Jor! WOOT....welcome aboard, here's a plate of BBQ, indeed. And Liz, what KIND of BBQ sauce do YOU make? I make my own as well, very tangy and smells like heaven... o man it's time to make some soon cuz i'm droolin'! There are 12 types of BBQ sauces....mine is a mix between New Orleans and Vinegar Carolina sauce....TANGY....http://www.amazingribs.com/recipes/BBQ_sauces/bbq_sauce_types.html---------------------------------- (That said, I won't be watching too much news on this issue of Baca-pocolypse because it WILL get lynch-mobbish and the fanatics WILL come out...some to attack all willy nilly and lose track of facts, and the other side to defend whatever and it will all break down into name-calling and it will bore and possibly annoy me if i allow it....At the risk of sounding like a male Scarlett O'Hara, "O fiddle-dee-dee! I'm gonna go get another plate of BBQ!" ...)
Bill C. January 09, 2014 at 06:21 PM
Baca will be indicted and I'm guessing Tanaka as well. Deps have been talking to the Feds for awhile, trust me. Liz, you think there's someone inside worth backing?
Liz January 09, 2014 at 06:34 PM
Right now Olmsted . Will have to see who all throws their hat in the ring. Bill my daughter was a nurse in the jails until she had her youngins. She knows a lot of the ones who want to run and speaks highly of Olmsted . Tanaka has been made to look bad by Baca as he one who has opened some of the can of worms against Baca.
Liz January 09, 2014 at 06:36 PM
Rb I like my sauce to be sweet and a little on the spicey side.
rubberband January 09, 2014 at 06:42 PM
Of course you do, Liz. Of course you do. And for new Los Angeles County Sheriff Boss they might hafta search super hard to find someone people can agree is clean and ready to serve and protect. Wish we had a law enforcement version of Pope Francis for the job, ya know? I'm not Catholic and I love that guy.
Liz January 09, 2014 at 07:01 PM
I am Catholic and I also love the guy. A couple of the runners are known by my daughter and son in law. I won't tell anyone how to vote I can only voice my opinion and why.
Liz January 09, 2014 at 07:01 PM
Rb did you get a copy of today's patch? I didn't.
rubberband January 09, 2014 at 07:18 PM
Nope, I did not...but I did get messaged by the other two I follow so that is weird. Maybe the rest of Monrovia voted us off the island. Dang Monrovia, don't be so COLD.
Melanie C. Johnson (Editor) January 09, 2014 at 07:34 PM
Liz and rubberband - You didn't get your daily newsletter? I have a message out to my boss to see if there were delivery issues this morning. They usually alert us, but I didn't get any notice. Sorry about that.
rubberband January 09, 2014 at 08:03 PM
So we weren't voted off? We can stay?! LIZ! WE CAN STAY! BBQ for EVERYONE.
Melanie C. Johnson (Editor) January 09, 2014 at 08:07 PM
No rubberband, you have not been voted off. Carry on. Let me know if you don't get the newsletters tomorrow. I am hoping it was a one-time glitch.
Liz January 09, 2014 at 08:08 PM
Yea, we are still in the loop Rb. We were just a glitch in their get along . Dan I do hope you are wrong re:Baca. A few others know where others are buried and they are not afraid to speak. Either way a new Sheriff is needed and now should be a competitive race.
rubberband January 09, 2014 at 08:54 PM
Speaking up and coming out about hidden stuff is scary...you cannot really guess what the news media people will do with it, and most folks would want some protection from the utter onslaught of bullpucky that is gonna fling FAR AND WIDE....covering things up takes a lot of energy, and a lot of people to engineer. Someone ALWAYS see the skellies in the closet.....rattle rattle rattle.
Bill C. January 09, 2014 at 09:52 PM
It will happen and sooner than you think.

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