Orange County Undersheriff John Scott named interim sheriff to replace the retiring Baca (Update)

Orange County Undersheriff John Scott has been named interim sheriff of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Orange County Undersheriff John Scott has been named interim sheriff of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Courtesy Orange County Sheriff's Department

Update 6:04 p.m.: Scott underscores intent not to run for LA sheriff position  

 The L.A. County Board of Supervisors introduced John Scott Tuesday afternoon as the new interim sheriff for L.A. County.

Scott retired from the sheriff’s department in 2005 but returned to law enforcement in 2008 to become the undersheriff in Orange County.

He is replacing L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, who will step down later this week.

Scott has promised not to run for L.A. County sheriff and says he will return south once voters select a new sheriff.

“I can assure, as has been said, that I’m not going to be a placeholder here in L.A. County,” Scott said Tuesday afternoon. “I will begin the process, immediately, of restoring both the dignity to the men and women of L.A. County (sheriff's department) and the confidence and trust with the public that we serve.”

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said she talked to Scott about the challenges he would face as interim sheriff.

“Even though he grew up in that agency, it is a very large department,” Hutchens said. “It’s difficult to get your arms around, so you must have people in the right places who you can trust to do the job.”

There are nine declared candidates running for sheriff in the June primary. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, then the top two candidates enter a runoff in November.

3:02 p.m.: LA County supervisors name Orange County Undersheriff John Scott to replace retiring Baca

 John Scott, the current undersheriff of Orange County, will take over as interim sheriff of Los Angeles County on Friday.

According to Joel Bellman, a spokesman for Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors picked Scott Tuesday afternoon following several meetings to discuss and interview candidates.

L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca announced earlier this month he's retiring before his term ends. His last day is Thursday. Sheriff's Spokesman Steve Whitmore said Scott will step into the job of interim sheriff on Friday morning.

RELATED: New sheriff in town: A look at 9 potential successors to LA Sheriff Lee Baca

Scott, the current second in command in Orange County, retired from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department after serving as chief of the custody division.

Retired L.A. County sheriff's Captain Joaquin Herran worked with Scott when he oversaw the jails.

"I would work for him any day," Herran said of Scott. "He was very proactive."

Herran also said Scott always had an open-door policy toward his deputies, and would try to help them solve any issue that came up in the complicated custody division.

Scott began his career with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department in 1969. He worked at the Lakewood Station as a patrol deputy before moving to the Firestone Station, Special Enforcement Bureau, and Emergency Operations Bureau.

He also served a number of assignments in the jails before reaching the top level of that department – chief of custody operations – in 2002. He retired in 2005 from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

Richard Drooyan,  the general counsel for the Citizens Commission on Jail Violence called it a "good choice."

"He has a very good reputation in the Los Angeles law enforcement community and the Orange County law enforcement community," said Drooyan, also a former LAPD Police Commissioner. "Just has a good reputation as a stand-up guy."

He joined the O.C. Sheriff's Department in July 2008 and was formerly appointed undersheriff a month later. Scott received a bachelor's degree in management from Redlands University and a masters in public communications from Pepperdine University.

One of the issues he will be facing is a scandal in the L.A. County jails: 18 current and former deputies are facing federal charges related to the abuse of inmates in the jail. 

Scott is married to a retired sheriff's captain and has four grown children. When not working, he enjoys skiing, reading, traveling and spending time with his family.

There are currently nine declared candidates for the position of L.A. County Sheriff. If none of them receive more than 50 percent of the vote during the June primary, the top two vote getters advance to the runoff in November.