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Breaking: James Hellmold Demoted After LA County Sheriff’s Campaign Loss



By Brian Hews and Brian Hews

Los Angeles County Assistant Sheriff James Hellmold has been demoted down to the position of Division Chief of the County Wide Services Division just two days after he lost a heated campaign for Sheriff on Tuesday.

Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper has learned that members of the department were sent an internal email on Thursday afternoon about Hellmold’s demotion.

HMG-CN has also learned that Michael Rothans has been promoted to Hellmold’s previous position of Assistant Sheriff.

Sheriff John Scott made the announcement.


Hellmold told HMG-CN that he was attending a press conference to announce his endorsement of challenger Jim McDonnell when reporters approached him about the story this newspaper had broken one hour earlier.

“It was a shock.  You guys broke this story before the LA County Sheriff’s Department could even get this information out to the rest of the media.  I just endorsed Jim McDonnell and the move is all good.  I want to be professional about this,” said Hellmold.

Hellmold said that he was told about the move from Scott “just a couple of the hours after the election results were known.”

“I got a call from John Scott and he told me that I was going to be reassigned and I told him that I would accept the position,” Hellmold told HMG-CN.

Hellmold said that many of his friends in the department have contacted him as soon as they received the internal memo announcing the move.  “Many of my friends have contacted me.  I am trying to be positive,” he said.

Hellmold said that his new position will be Division Chief of County Wide Services and will be replacing Buddy Goldman who moves over South Patrol Division.

Commander Michael Rothans will assume the position of Assistant Sheriff Patrol Division.


Paul Tanaka, who now will be facing Mc Donnell in the November 5th General Election told HMG-CN in an interview late Thursday afternoon that he was “not surprised” that Hellmold was shifted into the new position.

“This is internal politics,” Tanaka said.

He said that Hellmold is “currently in political survivorship mode.”

“Jimmy is smart and wants to put his foot in everybody’s door, his endorsement of McDonnell is not going to make a difference in the long run,” Tanaka continued.

Tanaka, a former undersheriff said that Acting Sheriff Scott “is not a fan of Lee Baca” and that he has “every right to make changes inside the department.”

“Like it or not, John Scott is in charge of the Sheriff’s Department at this time and he will be having to make more and more decisions until the new Sheriff takes over,” Tanaka said.

Also on Thursday, McDonnell picked up the endorsements of runner up sheriff candidates Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers and former firebrand Commander Bob Olmsted and LAPD Sergeant Lou Vince at a press conference in Los Angeles.


Nicole Nishida, spokesperson for Sheriff John Scott  told HMG-CN that “The Sheriff (John Scott) has been committed to reform and changes since he took the Sheriff’s position.  There have been continuing initiatives to enhance the overall performance of the dpeartmemnt.  The Sheriff is a big proponent of ‘good to great’ principals.  His believes that the right people should be on the right bus in the right seats.  He will continue to evaluate and assessed the structure for the greater good of the department.”

Nishida said regarding the decision to demote Hellmold: “Prior administration promoted him two ranks, and he has been assisgned to Chief of County Wide Services. This will give him the proper administrative experience that he missed.

When questioned about the timing of the demotion of Hellmold, that took place just hours after the polls had closed on Tuesday according to Hellmold himself, Nishida said “this move isn’t political.”  Nishida also admitted to HMG-CN that she attended a press conference held by the McDonnell for Sheriff Campaign on Thursday afternoon when Rogers, Olmstead, Vince, and Hellmold announced their endorsements.

“I just happened to be in the neighborhood and stopped by the press conference (of McDonnell) before I had to go to another building.  I wasn’t planning on being there,” Nishida said.


The Board of Supervisors put Sheriff Scott in his position with the expectation that he would make the decisions necessary to continue on our path of reform.  When we appointed him we said he was not just going to be a caretaker.  We need him to make whatever changes he deems necessary to put the department on the right path and to make the cultural changes we need to restore pride in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.”


  • FLFF says:

    Now the “paybacks” will start..

  • Smitty says:

    is it legal to demote people based on their political activities?

  • In the Shadow of the Park says:

    This really stinks!
    Run for Sheriff, lose and get demoted. Come on is this America, what happened to our freedom to seek public office. We are witnessing revenge at it’s finest moment, who’s next?

  • Dr. Ronda says:

    Hmmmm….. I smell a rat…if he needed to be demoted why wait until after the election? Did they want to split the votes to ensure that no other candidate would get close to McDonnell? Makes you wonder who really wants McDonnell in and why…Tanka will probably go down next and then McDonnell will begin paying back his endorsers… Something fishy is going on.

  • Sad Day for LA says:

    Amazing, a very sad day for LA. Makes one wonder who is pulling the strings.