The allegations arose from the "Baker to Vegas" event — a foot race for charity that draws police agencies from several states. After that race, the event's organizers received word that one of the contest's faster participants was not a law enforcement employee.
It turned out that the team representing the sheriff's Transit Services Bureau allowed someone not listed on their roster to jump in and run a leg, officials said.
"What could have been in your noggin to think you could get away with something like that?" asked Chuck Foote, a retired LAPD officer who helps organize the race. "This is for law enforcement…. As far as I know he wasn't anything."
The event's organizers banned the team from participating in 2013.
Baca opened an internal probe into the matter, and this week he disciplined those involved.
Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said five employees were disciplined, with three getting demoted — considered one of the worst reprimands next to getting fired.
"Whenever there's deception, the sheriff believes it's inappropriate and action has to be taken," Whitmore said. "The sheriff has always been this way and will continue to be."
Whitmore declined to name the officials disciplined, or say specifically what each did wrong. A sheriff's source briefed on the matter said the three supervisors demoted included a commander and two captains.