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BREAKING: Lee Baca Steps Down As Sheriff of Los Angeles County

 UPDATED at 10:40 a.m.Lee Baca

By Brian Hews

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca dramatically ended his career on Tuesday morning by announcing that he has decided to step down from the position he has coveted for the past 15 years.

Baca made his announcement during an emotional press conference held in Monterey Park at LASD Headquarters flanked by several uniformed members of his department standing behind him.

Baca’s decision to retire comes weeks after Andre Birotte Jr., the U.S. Attorney for California’s Central District, announced charges against 18 current and former deputies assigned to the Los Angeles County jails in connection with a wide scope of illegal conduct including allegations of unjustified beating of inmates, unjustified detentions and a conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation.

Baca said he will stop working at the end of January.  The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will be responsible for naming an Acting Sheriff to replace Baca whose term ends in 11 months. Several candidates have already lined up to run for Baca’s job in the upcoming June California Primary election including former Under Sheriff Paul Tanaka, Retired Commander Bob Olmstead, LAPD Sergeant Lou Vince and several others.

Tanaka, through campaign spokesperson Kelsey Eiben quickly responded to the news about Baca’s sudden decision.

“Sheriff Baca and I have had our differences regarding the leadership and management of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He’s voiced his opinions publicly as have I. I’ll talk about that during my campaign, but I want to put politics aside for today and applaud him for his dedication to public service. This is a tough job and I want to thank Sheriff Baca for his decades of public service to Los Angeles County,” Tanaka said.

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