13 Images

Sheriff Lee Baca

Baca waits to meet with county Supervisor Gloria Molina. “He is a problem-solver,” says civil rights lawyer Constance L. Rice, a friend and advisor. (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)
L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca waits for a recent news conference to begin. He is sometimes referred to within law enforcement circles as “Sheriff Moonbeam.” (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)
Community activist Morris Griffin, left, shakes hands with Baca at Compton City Hall last June after the sheriff outlined the department’s new guidelines in the wake of a shooting incident in a residential neighborhood. (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)
A makeup artist preps Baca for his videotaped greeting marking the birthday of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, who died 20 years ago. (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)
Baca greets U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) before a meeting on airport and port security. Calling himself the county’s “voice of public safety,” Baca sees it as part of his job to lobby with state and national leaders. (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)
Baca talks with staff during a weekly meeting at headquarters in Monterey Park. Baca’s quirky, innovative approach to crime fighting has endeared him to those who traditionally mistrust the police and made him one of the county’s most successful politicians. (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)
LA County Sheriff Lee Baca walks towards the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration building on February 21Tuesday to meet with the Board of Supervisors. (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)
Baca rests on the way to a race in the Mojave Desert. Once a community college dropout, he earned a doctorate in public administration from USC at age 51. (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)
Baca rests during a run near his home. His calendar is full of political endorsement meetings and community appearances, even on weekends. (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca stretches near a flagpole during warmup for a 5K run in El Segundo on March 4 2006. Baca is one of the best over-60 runners in the country and races almost every weekend.

Baca has become one of the most popular elected officials in Los Angeles during his seven-plus years in office. (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)
Baca waits for the start of a 5K run in El Segundo in March. Baca is one of the best over-60 runners in the country and races almost every weekend. (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)
Baca warms up for a 5K race in El Segundo in March. He is in perpetual motion, determined to be the sheriff 24-7: “No one works harder than me.” (Brian Vander Brug / LAT)