The race to succeed outgoing LA County Sheriff Lee Baca is a crowded one. At least seven candidates, the latest one, Assistant Sheriff James Hellmold, jumped in today, with a dramatic appearance, music included, at the famed First AME Church in South LA.
He said he's a reformer, a guy who's delivered proven results, who wants to tell the story of the great work the men and women of the LA County Sheriff's Department are doing. Oh, what a surprise, candidate Bob Olmsted, himself a retired Sheriff's Commander, described himself almost the same way. Both of them had news conferences today, (Olmsted staged his outside the Men's Central Jail downtown) both seem earnest and dedicated, one still on the inside, one describing himself as a whistleblower, a former insider, now an outsider, who wants back in on the inside.
He says he's the one who brought inmate abuse to Baca's attention, (he doesn't explain how it happened while he was in fact running the jails, and Baca has previously dismissed that claim saying he knew all about it long before Olmsted came to him and then went to the Feds). The election isn't until June, Sheriff Baca stepped aside saying he didn't want the race to be bring the Sheriff's Department negative attention by focusing on say, 18 recent indictments of Sheriff's deputies and higher ranking officers over allegations of abuse of inmates in the jails. Hellmold said today jail violence is down to historic levels, Olmsted says violence has increased. They're looking at the same numbers, but interpreting them differently because there are different categories of reporting of ‘'violence'. You mean politicians, even law enforcement veterans who must now become politicians and pander and ask for money are giving their own spin on the same information ? Never heard of that before. We'll be following this race closely and have interviews with all the candidates leading up to the election.