Being the incumbent Sheriff historically spells reelection, but Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca's bid to win a fifth term as LA's top cop took another blow today with the news of yet another federal investigation into misconduct in the scandal ridden department.
According to the LA Times "For nearly two years, the Department of Justice has been conducting a criminal probe into allegations of abuse and violence in the Los Angeles County jails."
"On Thursday, the Justice Department informed Sheriff Lee Baca and the county that it is opening a second investigation that will examine whether sheriff’s deputies engaged in a pattern of excessive force, and whether the department failed to implement broad reforms that the sheriff agreed to in 2002 involving mentally ill inmates." The Times said.
Our recent review of the four challengers to Baca's incumbency placed retired Sheriff's Commander Robert "Bob" Olmsted at the top of the list. The 32 year veteran of the Sheriff's Department recently received over two dozen endorsements from law enforcement personnel with current Santa Maria police chief and former LASD Commander, Ralph Martin, saying “Bob Olmsted has the qualifications and experience to be LA County’s next Sheriff. I couldn’t be more proud to endorse his candidacy.”
Today's news must surely bring a boost to Olmsted's candidacy, and Olmsted's campaign strategist, John Thomas, wasn't pulling any punches with his response to the news of more blues for Baca.
Hindenburg-like bid to become District Attorney, adding insult to injury with an 'illegal in uniform endorsement' for the man the LA Times called "Carmen 'I am a liar' Trutanich." Baca then went on to endorse Trutanich's historic failure to be reelected as City Attorney, and served as Trutanich's consigliere on election night when Trutanich hid from his supporters and remained holed up in a real estate office with the Sheriff.
Whether Thomas was referring to the loss of credibility Baca suffered by aligning himself with Trutanich, or to the news of more blues for Baca, is a matter of speculation.
As to the news of the second federal probe, the Times rhetorically asked "Will voters care?" Judging by the comments posted in response to their article, some voters do seem to care.
The views of a handful of voters suggests voters will care, the real question is whether the challengers will have campaign warchests big enough to let voters know of their candidacies and qualifications?