Lee Baca Facing Six-Month Prison Term: What Happened to the Idealistic Sheriff from East LA?

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is one of America’s stranger law enforcement agencies, and its former head, Lee Baca, who admitted this week that he lied to federal investigators, is about as strange and troubling a public figure as one can imagine. The organizational oddity begins at the top, since the Sheriff is an independently elected official. That was common in the mid-19th Century, when the department was formed, but today only a handful of agencies retain that arrangement, none of them anything like the size of LA County. What that means is that the head of the nation’s fourth ...