After L.A. County Sheriff Baca, Agency Needs “Sweeping Revamp”–L.A. Times


After months of deepening federal investigations, damning news exposes and a scathing county commission report that decried his “failure of leadership,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca finally took the hint and announced that he would step down at the end of the month rather than seek a fifth four-year term. The Los Angeles Times says in an editorial that, “It’s the right decision, and one we hope will enable the department to reverse some of Baca’s many mistakes and begin to fix the many problems that have plagued it during his nearly 16-year tenure.”

Los Angeles County must fight the temptation to end the discussion about the nearly unfettered power of the sheriff’s office, the evidence of institutionalized thuggery in the jails and the urgent need for both a leader capable of revamping the nation’s largest sheriff’s department and a structural framework for vigorous oversight and lasting reform, the newspaper says. Baca’s departure will allow for a more sweeping revamp of the department. County leaders and the public should not view a change at the top as sufficient, the Times says, adding that, “Exactly who the new sheriff will be and just how an effective oversight system will be structured should become the central debate of the sheriff’s race over the coming year.”

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