LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca on Tuesday (Jan. 7) announced that he would not seek re-election in June and would be retiring at the end of this month. In a prepared statement, Baca said:
I have been proud and honored to serve the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the people of Los Angeles County for the past 48 years – which has made this decision the most difficult of my professional life.
I am not going to seek re-election to a fifth term as Sheriff, and I will retire at the end of this month.
The reasons for doing so are many, and some are most personal and private, but the prevailing one is the negative perception this upcoming campaign has brought to the exemplary service provided by the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department. They have conducted themselves with the utmost integrity and professionalism, resulting in yet another year of historic crime reductions not seen in nearly half-a-century.
Your Sheriff’s Department is the greatest law enforcement agency in the nation, and I want to thank the men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for their hard work, dedication, and sacrifice exhibited daily.
To the people of Los Angeles County, I also extend a deep sense of gratitude for allowing me to serve for the past 48 years.
As your elected Sheriff for the past 15 years, I have held fast to the Core Values of this great department. And they are: “As a leader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, I commit myself to perform my duties with respect for the dignity of all people, integrity to do right and fight wrongs, wisdom to apply common sense and fairness in all I do, and courage to stand against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and bigotry in all its forms.”
Baca’s retirement announcement comes in the wake of misconduct allegations within his department. Federal officials last month announced that 18 current or former deputies were charged as a result of an ongoing FBI investigation into corruption and civil rights abuses by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Four grand jury indictments and one criminal complaint allege crimes that include unjustified beatings of jail inmates and visitors at downtown Los Angeles jail facilities, unjustified detentions, and a conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation into misconduct at the Men’s Central Jail, according to an FBI press release issued Dec. 9. Read it here.
Shortly after the FBI’s announcement last month, Baca held a press conference and said he was fully cooperating with the FBI investigation.
In his LASD blog this week, Baca wrote: “Effecting positive change in a challenged criminal justice system starts with a willingness to be completely open and transparent about everything, even if the truthfulness and transparency results in identifying areas for improvement or exposing misconduct.”