LASD Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca

OC’s John Scott Named Interim Sheriff—& So Far the News Seems Good


On Tuesday after much speculation, a couple of closed meetings between the members of the LA County Board of Supervisors, and many side meetings in the individual Supes’ offices, the board members finally agreed upon a selection for the interim LA County Sheriff.

Their pick is John Scott. And the early word is good on the selection of Scott who, for the last few years, has been the undersheriff of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department under OC Sheriff Sandy Hutchins. Prior to his Orange County job, Scott worked for the LA County Sheriff’s Department for over 3 1/2 decades—-from 1969 to 2005. One of his final postings at the LASD was as Chief of the Custody Division, making him familiar with—among other things— the difficulties of running the country’s largest jail system.

Scott will attend his first LASD executive staff meeting on Wednesday at department headquarters.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department had its own kind of challenges when Hutchens lured Scott out of retirement to help her clean up the mess left behind by the federally indicted former Sheriff Michael Carona. (Hutchens was appointed in 2008 to finish out Carona’s term after he was arrested.)

Scott told the Supes he will go back to his OC job after he finishes his tenure in LA County this coming December when a new sheriff will be sworn in. Hutchins has said she is holding the job open for Scott.

“The fact that Scott had a place to go back to had a big appeal,” said a county insider of the supervisors’ choice. It meant, said the source, that that Scott wasn’t angling to run for LA sheriff himself. “It also solved the problem of, ‘How do you get an A-lister for the short term?'”

According to another well-placed source, additional selling points for the board members include the fact that, due to his decades in LA, Scott has a working knowledge of the embattled LASD, without being caught up in all the factions and intrigue to which many insiders are subject. And yet, “he knows where a lot of the bodies are buried,” said the source.

When Sheriff Lee Baca announced his retirement on January 7 of this year, he named Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald as his pick for interim sheriff—a choice that some of the Supes embraced more than others did, although all seem very pleased with McDonalds work as head of the department’s long-beleaguered custody division. The possibility of her stepping in to run the entire department was nixed when attorneys from the county counsel’s office said that McDonald did not have the proper certification to run the whole department.

McDonald came to the LASD from her position as undersecretary for operations California Department of Corrections starting her career a quarter century earlier as a corrections officer, making her an appealing choice to run LA County’s scandal-racked jail system—yet not, thought some, an ideal fit for the department-wide job.

Scott, in contrast, explained to the supervisors how involved he had been in in helping Sheriff Hutchens implement her five point action plan to reform the OC department.

The plan’s outline ends this way:

The ultimate goal of law enforcement in America is to reduce crime by honoring every aspect of American law. This includes the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. The foundation of any law enforcement agency must be built on the public trust.

The Supes approved Scott by a vote of 4-0 (with Mark Ridley Thomas abstaining).

At the Tuesday afternoon press conference where he was introduced, Scott told the crowd of reporters and onlookers that he was returning to the department “I love.” He also assured those listening that he would not be “a placeholder.”

“I will begin the process, immediately, of restoring both the dignity to the men and women of L.A. County and the confidence and the trust of the public that they serve,” Scott said.

On Thursday at noon, Lee Baca will leave the office he has held for 15 years and the department he has served for 48.

When Scott left the LASD in 2005, he did so in part, according to our sources, because of a dissatisfaction with the some of those to whom he felt Sheriff Baca was ceding too much power.


LA Times editorial board member, Rob Greene, opines interestingly that the Supes pick, John Scott, is a great combination of LASD insider and outsider.

Here’s a clip:

The Board of Supervisors could have picked an insider to succeed Lee Baca and serve as Los Angeles County sheriff for the next 10 months. A top deputy would have given the Sheriff’s Department someone already acquainted with the policies and pecking orders that give the place its culture, and with the people who patrol the streets and the jails. But that’s just the point: Continuity isn’t always a plus. The department needed an unmistakable break from its past, so choosing an insider wouldn’t have been the best move.

So the board could have gone with an outsider, a person from another law enforcement or corrections agency with a solid resume of experience untainted by any time in Baca’s department. But that would have meant a person trying to fix, or even just run, the department without much knowledge of its particular assets and problems. Such a sheriff might have had trouble gaining support or even respect from either internal would-be reformers or old-school foot-draggers, all of whom would have recognized that their boss was a short-termer who would be gone by Dec. 5, when the newly elected sheriff is sworn in.

In picking Orange County Undersheriff John Scott, the board went with someone who’s got a foot in each camp…..


  • Great choice. And it’s true that John told Baca, more than once, that he (Baca) was headed for trouble. The mood in the office is the cloud has started to lift off LASD. The supes were smarter than I gave them credit for! I also agree with many others if John can just tell Whitmore and Weintraub that their services are no longer needed it will ease a lot of unnecessary embarrassment,tension and begin the restoration of LASD.

  • John’s a good guy. He’s been away for a long time, though. I hope he still has enough people he can trust to get him up to speed on where the rot lies.

  • Best of luck to Sheriff John Scott. He will have a honeymoon period where some real opportunity will be available to solve problems. For the good of the deputies, I hope he wipes out the dead weight on the 4th floor. I could name them all, but for starters, if you’re 55+, get on. You know Betkey, Barrantes, McSweeney, Fender, Mannis, et al. Time to go. Don’t let your career end like Baca, Tanaka, Cavanaugh, etc. They all stayed too long and paid for it.

    By the way, I guess Rogers is paying for “likes” on his facebook page. He went from 600 to 8000 in a 24 hour period. Figured he didn’t have many friends, but that’s kinda embarrassing. When’s he going to quit and join up with McDonnell? I can see that coming a mile away.

    Hey Olmsted, who wrote that manifesto for you? Could we have a few specifics? I think I saw the word “accountability” 47 times Where was his “accountability” when he was supposed to be supervising Dan Cruz and the 3000 boys. I recall seeing his name proudly displayed on the 3000 wall. He was just one of the boys. Good news is, I heard he raised $31.50 at a brownie sale last week. You might be able to buy a couple of bumper stickers with all that dough. Having a little cash flow problem Bob?

  • Veritatem, you seem to have a lot of venom directed at Rogers and Olmsted, but you conveniently forgot Tanaka and Hellmold. I wonder why? Could it be their campaigns are going well? Tanaka paid for his likes as well, via Google ads online in the LA Times.

    Speaking of good news in the Hellmold circus, did you see his church revival press conference? Can I get an Amen? At least Olmsted had the courtesy of giving you a plan to bash. Tanaka and Hellmold? Still waiting on those gems…

  • Welcome John Scott & a big thank you to Sheriff Hutchens for loaning us such a valuable asset. Also a not so big thanks to Paul Myron( a M G hater), Bill Stonich ( Just give Baca what ever he wants)’, Larry Waldie ( I’ll make it up as I go, ethics, ya kidding) & Paul Tanaka ( macho man with the Waldie ethic) & Lee Baca ( I didn’t know), for such a wonderful legacy.

  • I am not the biggest fan of Roy, and he has in the past asked me to “go settle this outside” during a heated discussion, and one of his trainees was a close friend who shared several stories of grief while being trained by Roy. But I think taking a pot shot at someone for something that happened 30 plus years ago is just plain cowardly. Roy has done and been many things, but he has always fought for what he believes in. I may not agree with him, but I applause his convictions. He also helped a great number of deputies over the years. Now the fact he supports Tanaka just shows he did not win all those trips to the parking lot to discuss things.

  • @Veritatem, although I can agree with you about seeing the 4th floor wiped out, lets not fogey about the TTCF 8th floor, and lets not discriminate with age. Many of the younger ones are so caught up with the shiny stars on their collars they can’t see past the end of their noses. As far as Olmsted, you have it all very wrong. He is a fantastic leader, who is raising money. It’s just not dirty money.

  • More than the fourth floor needs to be cleaned.  Look at the years of  of unacceptable behavior that was tolerated at all levels.  How mature of Roy to want to “go settle it outside.”  Is that a bully?  Sure  sounds like the behavior Tanaka fostered over the years. Federal Indictments aren’t enough to tell people that those days are over in LASD? Olmsted is right in using the word accountability over and over again. Today at 14:00, a new era will begin for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department with John Scott. Hopefully, one   that doesn’t include  alligations of  pay to play, substandard hiring practices, tolerance of crimminal act by employees, and all the other shenanigans this organization has endured during the Baca And Tanaka years. Those that understand it honor and  privilege   to  serve the public in  this job  should be able to thrive. For those that don’t get this concept, get ready to be left at the side of the road. 

  • I despise Tanaka/Baca, but Roy Burns has been tested in the streets, the alleys, the courts and the Deputy hearings he attended for anyone whom requested his assistance. To bring up a case from the 70’s in an attempt to defame this man is WRONG. Those of you that have brought this up are pathetic individuals.

  • CSL & TTCH, I helped make Roy president of ALADS. Did I always agree with him and how he did things in that position? No. Did that lead to problems between us? Yes. Do I agree with his supporting who he is now? Well, that’s his prerogative. Roy did have the courage to come onto this site in the past using his own name. I respect him for that and feel I owe him the same despite our past disagreements.
    To dredge up something that happened 30 years ago is flat wrong. Roy is not the candidate. Dig up all the skeletons you want on Tanaka et al, but attacking Roy is just a cheapshot.

  • Today is a good day. Steve Whitmore is more of historical fictional character.

    Let us not forget one of his finest tone deaf tragedies:

    “An African-American inmate walked up to a white inmate and basically said hello. And the Latino inmates took umbrage with the tone of the salutation.”

    May the wind always be in your face, and a rain cloud over your head. Go away and hide.

  • Why are we talking about Roy Burns? This is a story about John Scott becoming the interim Sheriff. What does one have to do with the other?

  • Gravy:

    It’s because someone defamed a man that had a stellar career, a man that has fought the good fight, on the streets and with the Administration and we want to stand up for this man. It is as simple as that.

  • LATBG: It’s that snotty, anti-community, Us vs. Them, mentality that has earned us the communities distrust. A few post ago someone told me to go live in Lynwood. Let me enlighten you a bit; there are great people in Lynwood and to stand amongst them is honorable. Go tell Olmstead to hold an event in the South Los Angeles and see who stands beside him. You also demean African-American Christians with your, “Can I get an Amen” rant. They choose to worship the Lord in their own way, don’t belittle them. Do you think you are building bridges, or solidifying barriers? Wake up Pal! The LASD must go into the inner city and mend fences.

  • LATBG- You’ve offended the entire African American community and church congregations with your sarcastic comments about their culture and religion. As Bob Olmstead’s official spokesperson are you speaking on his behalf about African Americans and Christians? Please clarify. Thank you.

  • You haters make me laugh fuming about Roy burns…..from the trenches in Vietnam to kicking in doors with SEB,..ROY BURNS has paid his dues and some of the haters dues too! Stop being a coward on witness l.a.. Be a man and live or be a coward and die. One thing about Roy……..He kept it real!

  • Stuff… are to be commended for telling the truth about Roy…..Despite some differences. ….Roy is a “stand -up” guy!…..SEMPER FI to you Roy…..I’ll go to back you up in battle, any day.

  • Baca’s Field Deputies are under scrutiny. However, how about cleaning out the Reserve Program. That would be a great start for the Interim Sheriff. The do nothing, weak reserves that run fundraisers and smoke cigars. Never worked a day in the field. There are hundreds of Reserves that work the street on a weekly basis. The attempt of Baca to build up the reserves numbers to 1000. Sheriff Scott, clean house like you did in OC. There is plenty of undermining within the reserve ranks and the camps are in motion.

  • Roy Burns is the real deal in my book. he is a cop at heart and always will be. He would work at West Hollywood Station on his own time and on his way home .when he was at SEB, He was always squared away and respectful. He never went ten 8 without asking me first ( watch commander ) it really chaps my ass when people criticize men like Roy who have contributed so much.

    Glass houses, critics.

  • Whitmore, and the worthless Four are gone, not bad for the first day of work. The car riders and the ladder climbers need to get ready to get theirs. DMH way of doing things with people at the top who fall from grace, take away all their power, and are given busy work. Your days are coming soon but not soon enough!

  • I told you truth would prevail. Now let’s pray Tanaka stays out and the voting public does not get tricked into electing him Sheriff. He will continue the corruption. I agree that the 4th floor needs a purging of all the 55+ age players . Hellmold needs to be demoted back to lieutenant. He is a joke.

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