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Sheriff Lee Baca Responds To Report Criticizing His Deputies, Jail Management

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Sheriff Lee Baca may agree with a scathing report, criticizing his deputies and his department’s management of Los Angeles County’s jails, but he says it’s not enough to make him fire anyone or step down himself just yet.

“You know, I’m not a person that thinks about quitting on anything,” Baca said during a news conference at the Men’s Central Jail. “The voters had the grace to give me the job and the voters will have the grace to take it away.”

The report was made by the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence, which was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to investigate allegations of rampant violence by deputies against jail inmates.

The commission issued dozens of recommendations, notably the creation of an inspector general’s office to provide oversight of the department and the jails. The report also emphasized that Baca needed to be personally engaged in oversight of the jails.

Baca told reporters Wednesday that he demands his deputies follow the Sheriff’s Department’s core values of respect for everyone and that dozens have been fired for failing to meet that standard.

The sheriff will not, however, take immediate action against his second-in-command, Undersheriff Paul Tanaka. The report singled out Tanaka, accusing him of discouraging investigations into deputy-misconduct allegations and encouraging deputies to be aggressive against inmates.

In addition to the commission’s investigation, the county jails are also the subject of a federal probe. The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which has been critical of deputies’ conduct in the jails, issued a report last month claiming that jailers routinely struck inmates in the head during scuffles.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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