Celebrating Our National Sheriff of the Year
The Los Angeles Times needs to stop investigating Sheriff Lee Baca. Instead of undermining our top lawman’s authority with pointless reports about this or that allegation, the newspaper needs to focus on falling crime numbers, fewer accidental deputy shootings, and a measurable (if not statistically significant) percentage drop in gross negligence claims against the Sheriff’s Department – which means lower taxes for all of us.
Isn’t it enough that federal officials are investigating inmate abuse at the jails Baca runs? Do we really need more reporters snooping around his “dubious” campaign contributions? Isn’t it enough that Baca’s right-hand man, Paul Tanaka, retired suddenly last week? Does it really matter if he oversaw deputies who earned tatoo credits for busting up bad guys?
Is it really necessary for the newspaper to print embarrassing stories about Sheriff Baca doling out favors to friends and family, most notoriously to a nephew with a long criminal record? A relative whose checkered past didn’t prevent Baca’s department from hiring him during a hiring freeze? (That the nephew is now the subject of an abuse probe is another matter altogether).
The sheriff-bashing is particularly ludicrous and unhelpful in light of the announcement recently of some wonderful and inspiring news. Our own Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who supposedly is so crooked and conceited, has been selected as “sheriff of the year” by the National Sheriff’s Association. They think he’s “exemplary.” And they’re sheriffs, not some writers trying to “do their job” by reporting scuttlebutt. Kudos to Sheriff Baca for being recognized by your peers as a paragon of your profession. You and your fellow sheriffs know what a tough job it is dealing with the lowlife human filth that fills our jails, the druggies and so forth. It’s a wonder that there isn’t more inmate abuse, what with all the stress Sheriff Baca must be under from hounding reporters.
Hey, Los Angeles Times, if you really want to hold the guy accountable for what goes on in his department, follow the Sheriff’s sage advice: don’t elect him.
It’s really that simple.