How Safe Is the Sheriff of LA County?

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Next year, Lee Baca will be running for a fifth term as Sheriff of Los Angeles County. But last year, a blue ribbon commission blamed Baca's mismanagement for jailhouse brutality, which was at the heart of federal criminal charges filed yesterday against 18 of Baca's deputies. The US Attorney said abuse and corruption have been "institutionalized" in the Sheriff's department, a charge that Baca denies. "The exception of force incidents (14 or 15 people) under an indictment relative to jail activity is not an institutional number." Gloria Molina says the Board can't fire Baca, but voters can, and she's called on him to retire. But he has his supporters, too.

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Warren Olney