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Sheriff Lee Baca stuns with sudden retirement announcement

by AirTalk®

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On Monday Dec. 9 Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca held a press conference to respond to the F.B.I. arrests of 17 Los Angeles sheriff's deputies. Ken Scarboro/KPCC

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca announced Tuesday morning that he will retire at the end of the month and confirmed that he would not run for re-election. His term was supposed to last until December and Baca recommended that that Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald serve as sheriff until the upcoming election. Sheriff Baca said he had personal reasons for not wanting to seek re-election but also cited the "negative perception" the upcoming campaign for sheriff has reflected on the department.

The sheriff's department has suffered a number of scandals during Baca's four-term tenure including incidence of racial profiling in the Antelope Valley and charges have been filed against several deputies for allegations of physical violence against inmates, unjustified detentions and attempting to obstruct an FBI investigation into the Sheriff's  Department.

Baca was also praised for his push to increase education and rehabilitation programs inside the county jails and for outreach to the Muslim community after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His surprise announcement leave the race for LA County Sheriff wide open. What was the motivation for Sheriff Baca to retire? What candidates might appear in the sheriff’s race now that Baca is out?


Zev Yaroslavsky, LA County Supervisor, 3rd District, which encompasses Malibu, Hollywood, and parts of the San Fernando Valley

Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director of Los Angeles County’s Citizens’ Jail Commission on Jail Violence. She also serves as a Lecturer at the UCLA School of Public Policy

Peter Eliasberg, Legal Director of the ACLU of Southern California

Brian Moriguchi, President, Professional Peace Officers Association

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