I'm extremely troubled that despite copious evidence of a county Sheriff's Department in serious managerial disarray, not one challenger has stepped forward to rescue it.
As a Los Angeles County supervisor, I can't fire Sheriff Lee Baca. Only the voters can. But I do oversee lawsuit payouts — most against his department. Each time I approve a legal settlement arising from misuse of force by sheriff's deputies, another arises. Details vary, but what stay the same are bad management and zero accountability.
For years, Baca has circled the globe attending events while apparently neglecting certain duties at home. Serious responsibilities — like curbing jail violence and ensuring consistent deputy patrol in unincorporated neighborhoods — fell by the wayside. His lack of responsiveness indicates that not only has he failed at his mission, but he feels he never had a problem to begin with. For years, he's paid lip service to the Board of Supervisors about "reform" while we've paid for lawsuits originating from his mismanagement.
So many law enforcement personnel serve professionally and honorably, and it's a disgrace that their heroism is tarnished by poor management. Now is the time for the right challenger to step up and run against Baca in 2014. What's required is integrity and courage.
The writer is the Los Angeles County supervisor representing the 1st District. The views expressed here are her own.