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L.A. County supervisors name interim replacement for Sheriff Lee Baca

Law EnforcementCrime, Law and JusticeLee BacaLos Angeles County Board of SupervisorsMark Ridley-Thomas

After two closed-door meetings Tuesday, Los Angeles County supervisors announced they have selected Orange County Undersheriff John Scott to take over for the resigning Lee Baca until voters select a new sheriff later this year.

The vote was 4-0, with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas abstaining, to appoint Scott as interim Los Angeles County sheriff,  county spokesman David Sommers said. Before joining the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Scott had retired from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department after serving as a division chief.

Scott will take over for Baca, whose last day on the job is Thursday. Baca, who had been running for reelection, announced this month that he would drop out of the race and retire at the end of the month.

The Sheriff's Department has been under fire over allegations of widespread misconduct and abuses in the jails, which culminated in the arrest of 18 current and former department employees late last year.

Baca had recommended Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald for the interim post, but that suggestion was scuttled when county officials learned that McDonald -- who came the Sheriff's Department from the state corrections department last year as a jail reform expert -- did not have the required certifications or field experience to hold the sheriff's post.

Baca spokesman Steve Whitmore said the sheriff considered the decision “a very wise move,” saying the new interim sheriff was qualified because he has worked both for the Sheriff’s Department and an outside agency.

Whitmore said Baca was not upset that the board did not heed his recommendation to appoint McDonald.

“No, there’s no disappoint here whatsoever,” Whitmore said.

Scott's appointment will be formally announced at a news conference set for 4:30 p.m. today in the Board of Supervisor's hearing room at the downtown Los Angeles Hall of Administration.

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abby.sewell@latimes.com

robert.faturechi@latimes.com

Twitter: @sewella

Twitter: @RobertFaturechi

 

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