1:28 PM PST, January 7, 2014
Join Times staff writers Robert Faturechi and Jack Leonard at 9 a.m. Wednesday for an L.A. Now Live discussion on L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca's announcement that he will not seek a fifth term and instead will retire at the end of the month.
Baca, 71, spent 48 years with the department, including 15 as sheriff. News of his impending departure stunned many inside and outside the agency.
Baca was locked in a tough reelection battle amid several scandals that had beset the department. At his news conference Tuesday, Baca insisted his decision to step down was "based on the highest of concern for the future of the Sheriff's Department." He repeatedly cited the upcoming campaign, which he said had already brought "negative perception" to the department.
During the news conference, Baca was asked whether his retirement was connected to the ongoing federal corruption investigation into jail violence and other problems in the department.
Baca indicated it was not, saying: "I'm not afraid of reality. I'm only afraid of people who don't tell the truth."
Baca told top officials in county government late Monday that he believed stepping down would help the department recover after several years of tumult and criticism, according to sources familiar with the conversations.
Join Faturechi and Leonard for a discussion of Baca's retirement announcement at 9 a.m. Wednesday. During the online chat, readers can submit all their questions and comments and we'll get to as many of them as we can.
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