2014 Election DCFS Foster Care LA County Jail LASD

Sheriff’s Race: A Candidate Has a Plan…Who’s the Interim?… A New Child Safety Czar for LA’s Foster Kids?


On Wednesday morning, as TV cameras rolled, retired Commander Robert Olmsted stood in front of Men’s Central Jail to introduce a 9-Part Plan that outlines how he hopes to “transform” the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department “and root out its corruption.”

Olmsted is one of the six candidates competing to replace Lee Baca for the job of LA County Sheriff.

Those also in the race include Long Beach Chief of Police Jim McDonnell, former LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers and Assistant Sheriff Jim Hellmold.

Hellmold formally announced his candidacy this week in front the iconic First AME Church in South Los Angeles with civil rights attorney Connie Rice endorsing him.

The LAPD detective Lou Vince and retired LASD lieutenant Pat Gomez are also vying for votes.

Olmsted’s plan is smart and thoughtful—in short, something that other candidates would do well to peruse.

It features various ways to improve nuts and bolts policing, while also outlining ideas to “institute systemic safeguards” to ensure that, as he puts it, “nobody can ever again do what the current top brass have done to undermine the primary mission of the LA County Sheriff’s Department.”

These proposed safeguards include pushing for a permanent Citizen’s Oversight Commission, similar to that which is proposed by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, plus adding an additional office for internal oversight inside the LASD itself, with the idea of helping the department better police itself.

In other points, Olmsted says he would hire independent auditor to do a forensic audit to find out where the department’s money has been spent. (We really hope other candidates will embrace this idea as we have long believed a deep and rigorous forensic audit of the LASD’s fiscal matters is sorely needed.)

The candidate also notes department programs that have been woefully underfunded, like the The LASD’s Special Victims Unit, which investigates sexual and physical abuse against children and, according to Olmsted has an alarming backlog of some 2000 cases.

In the arena of realignment, Olmsted promises to look at “best practices” around the state, thereby “using the county as a laboratory for criminal justice” reform. (This is another principle we applaud.)

Olmsted declares himself a strong believer in the importance of “rehabilitative not just punitive, incarceration” so recommends continuing to support Baca’s education-based incarceration but also beefing up the department’s gang and drug prevention programs aimed at helping kids before they hit the justice system, programs that of late seem to have been drastically slashed.

You can find more on Olmsted’s “Pathway to Reform” here.

Attention all you other candidates….now it’s your turn.


Ever since Lee Baca recommended Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald, as his interim replacement earlier this month when he announced that he’d be leaving the department, we’d been hearing that Ms. McDonald didn’t have the proper credentials to step into the gap Baca is leaving.

Terri McDonald oversees the LASD’s custody division

Now the LA Times’ Robert Faturechi has a story about this very issue and more. Here’s a clip:

The law enforcement leader many expected would replace Sheriff Lee Baca when he steps down next week does not have the required credentials, complicating the job of Los Angeles County supervisors who must pick an interim sheriff.

When Baca unexpectedly announced his plans to drop his reelection bid and retire at the end of this month, he recommended that supervisors appoint Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald to run the department until voters select a permanent sheriff later this year.

McDonald, a former state corrections official, was brought in last year to oversee the department’s massive and troubled jail system and is highly regarded by the supervisors. But state law requires that sheriff’s candidates have either advanced certification through the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training or specific types of field experience and education as a law enforcement officer. McDonald has neither.

The supervisors will meet in closed session on Thursday to further discuss the interim appointment.


While the rest of us were getting ready to ring in the new year late last month, LA County’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection issued an interim report calling for—among other changes— the appointment of a Child Welfare Czar. This post, if created, would be “empowered by the Board of Supervisors to have the ability to transcend structure and propose the movement of financial and staff resources without regard to department lines.”

If you’ll remember, the commission was formed last year to make recommendations as to how to fix LA’s chronically and tragically dysfunctional foster care system.

Now Christie Renick of the Chronicle of Social Change writes about the proposal to create such a position.

Here’s a clip:

The Los Angeles Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection, established more than six months ago in the wake of a tragic child death and on the heels of a scathing report on 13 others, submitted a far-reaching set of recommendations to Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors just before the New Year.

The question is whether or not the recommendations, submitted as a first step towards a complete overhaul “of the current ‘dysfunctional’ County child protection system,” will be funded in such a way as to have impact.


The commission suggested the Board of Supervisors name a lead agency to oversee implementation of its recommendations by the end of January. Further, the recommendations suggest, this lead agency should have sweeping powers.

“The lead agency must be empowered by the Board to have the ability to transcend structure and propose the movement of financial and staff resources without regard to department lines,” the report said.

The commission suggested as a possible lead agency the District Attorneys office, the Violence Intervention Program at University of Southern California Medical Center, or a combination of the two.

In essence, the commission envisions a Child Safety Czar, with an expectation to present implementation plans, specific to the other agencies involved, as early as March.

Here’s an earlier post about a LA Times editorial noting the commission’s views on the catastrophic lack of coordination between agencies who interact with foster kids, or potential foster kids, and what can be done about it.


  • Finally somebody with a plan. So far I am utterly unimpressed with the other candidates. What has Todd or Jimmy done. They have been on the inside this entire time, and I have yet to hear how they plan to reform and reshape the Department. I am sorry, but it is my belief that McDonnell, will only be a puppet for the “five kings”. It is obvious that they see this as their chance to take over the department, and turn LASD into another bureaucratic agency that they hold complete control over.

  • If there was ever any doubt about Leroy Baca being incompetent he just eliminated it in the minds of sane individuals. He recommends a person for interim sheriff who does not even meet the minimum qualifications. What a joke. For all of you who bought in to all his philosophical mumbo jumbo malarkey and thought he was some kind of new enlightened forward thinking guru of law enforcement, congratulations. You’ve proven how easy it is for a guy who is obviously incompetent to pull the wool over your eyes.
    What a joke!!!!!

  • OK, first of all, the Custody Assistant Sheriff is McDONALD. The LBPD Chief is McDONNELL. I know it is confusing, but come on — we’ve been bantering their names around for a while now! (The feed line says TERRI McDONNELL.)

    Secondly, according to the LA Times article, Sheriff’s spokesman, “Whitmore said that if McDonald were selected she could always get advice from Cecil Rhambo — the only one of the three remaining assistant sheriffs not running for the post.”

    Really Whitless? Aren’t you really saying Rhambo is the more qualified interim-sheriff? Ya think?!! Let’s compare 8 months on the Department to 30+ years of experience at ALL ranks (no skipping ranks here!). Come on! The only area he might be lacking is Custody Division!

    It seems like Baca and/or the BOS is pushing for McDonald because she IS the outsider, doesn’t know much about the Department & the inner workings, AND could be guided to do what those pulling the strings want.

  • @/times waisting, you are spot on. The McDonnell selection is just that, the BOS will finally have control of LASD. This election is going to be the people’s choice, the people’s selection, not the Board of Supervisors aka The King Makers. By the way, John and Ken are still laughing at their Tanaka interview. They are going to re-broadcast that interview in it’s entirety at 1800 hours tonight (Thursday) will some hilarious afterthoughts when they go back live.

    Any 4-1-1 on the next round of indictments?

  • I like Cecil but the problem would arise that Cecil is a hard core Tanaka fan and any pertinent info re LASD would go directly to Tanaka. I believe that Ray Leyva would be a great interim sheriff and most of all he is qualified! Something McDonald will NEVER be! Should the BOS be dumb enough to put an unqualified person as interim, against the law, then we all know it’s time to vote them all out!!

    I agree with others that the BOS is looking for a puppet and not a leader!

  • CSN83,
    Of course she could be guided by those wishing to pull the strings from behind the scenes. Namely Baca, who is trying desperately to remain relevant. That’s why he endorsed her for the interim spot. In his mind she owes him and owes him big time. He thinks (probably correctly) that he will be able to pull the puppet strings. What’s strikingly obvious is that he knows the other candidates aren’t going to give him the time of day. The question anybody with half a brain should be asking themselves is this. If he wants her to be the interim sheriff because she is an outsider, if she’s the one he has faith in to run the department, with no more time on the job than she has, WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT SAY ABOUT HIS LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN THOSE HE CHOSE TO PROMOTE TO HIS INNER CIRCLE TO LEAD THE DEPARTMENT? He knows she is his only hope to remain relevant for a few more months. He is only prolonging the inevitable. He is going to be irrelevant soon. He better learn to live with it. His days of being a star and having people grovel to kiss his ring will be over soon. He will openly be the butt of jokes (it’s been going on covertly for years) within the department he once ruled. A laughingstock. A sad joke. People aren’t going to nod their heads at all of his wierd ass abstract crazy philosophies and tell him how smart he is. They are going to be laughing at him. It’s way past due.

  • Baca still doesn’t know what happen! Rhambo is part of our big problems and Twitmore suggested he is the go to guy for advice. My goodness. Rhambo was gone until the Sheriff beat him too it.

  • Paul,  please do us all a favor and move on. In your David Ono interview you claim you were informed of the hide the prisoner fiasco  from a phone conversation with Baca. . In the John and Ken interview you stated you found out about it while being interviewed by the Feds. You like to accuse everyone one of lying about you.  However,  this  is conflicting information that  came out of your own mouth. 



    We had no problems with violence  the jails while they were under your leadership  from Jan 2005 to  June 2007 ? How about the fact we just settled a lawsuit for  $722,000 in which an inmate was stabbed 23 times by other inmates. I’m sure if you stay in the race, the media will find others  we paid out money to  in lawsuits or settlements during  your time in charge.  


    They will be  running the interview again  today at 6:00 at the height of when their listeners tune in.  Your  chance to become the next Sheriff is gone. 

  • First order of business for whomever is the interim seatwarmer . . ROLL UP Mr S. Whitmore! His mindless comments and tap dance need to be done . . And check his desk for “Whitmore was here”.

  • Okay boys and girls the month is running out. While you might not like Rambo he still is the most qualified to take over till a new sheriff is sworn in. Unlike anyone that has been interviewed he has a lot more tenure and current experience than anyone .

    The Tanaka and Bootlicker smack talk needs to stop. Both men are gone and now we are looking for someone to hold up the walls up until a new sheriff is elected.

  • It will be interesting to see The B of S pick. If they select an ‘electable” they are clearly giving that person the electoral advantage and hence will “own ” the behavior of the new sheriff. I think it’ would be more a case of ; does the board want to accept responsibility for appointing a Sheriff as opposed to having the new one in their pocket. I have read with much interest the views of many of you and truly acknowledge, that does not mean i agree with all. I am simply giving my views based on empirical data. ( and some personal opinion Bob Olmsted is in fact the only candidate to come forward with a plan. a simple plan which speaks directly to truthfulness. Let us remember “The Wistleblower” cam eforward with his observatuions and ideas for solutions LONG BEFORE his campaign. Olsted chose to retire for very personal, and very honorable reasons. I don’t believe he had any idea of running for Sheriff. Knowing the kind of person he is , I feel he came forward now because of his affection for the Department and its members. active and retired.

    Before anyone challenges my opinion of Olmsted, let me just add this. I never worked the same unit ha she, however i have worked around him and known him for 30+ years. If you can better my pedigre, I welcome your shots.

    ‘Can’t we all just get along ? ” :=)

  • @ proud ole retiree I agree with your opinion of Bob. He’s an honorable man. And in this for all the right reasons. @ Jack Dawson That’s too funny!

  • Cecil Rhambo can’t be trusted. My proof: Cecil Rhambo bought a trailer in Compton, located behind Compton College. Perfect timing to call it a home, just so he can establish residency to run for the Mayor’s position.

  • CSN83, how can Cecil be expected to lead the LASD when he is PT’s best friend? How can Cecil be expected to chop off the heads of those who blindly followed PT? Cecil needs to leave!

  • Am I the only one who noticed Todd Rogers facebook went from a week stuck at 300 likes to over 8,000 in one day? How did that happen? I dont know about technology but something smewwws kind of scwuweee. Time for Olmsted Instead.


  • did not Rhambo compete recently for the chief’s job at either Manhattan or Hermosa Beach ,P.D total sworn of less ( far less ) than 100 ea.? AND LOSE

    Think what you will, Let;s hope for the best,

  • Bob Olmsted, thanks for your plan. While I might not completely agree with every aspect, it certainly appears you’re headed in the right.

    There are a large number of us that are strongly leaning towards you as the best candidate. However, there is one issue of concern, that could be a credibility issue for your campaign. Assuming you are successful, and assuming you reestablish the position of Undersheriff (there was never a problem with the structure, just the individuals in place), who will you appoint as Undersheriff?

    If the prevailing rumors are true, and if you plan to appoint JH as Undersheriff (and I’m not referring to Jim Hellmold), then that is an issue of major concern to many of your potential supporters. In JH you have someone who is, albeit smarter, just as narcissistic, just as manipulative and just as vindictive as Larry Waldie. We all know that JH wants the position of power so he can inflict personal payback.

  • Bob Olmstead, If JH is the prospective U/S then you’re on the same ethical slide Sheriff Baca took. Ask around about his history, very troubling to say the least. You will lose substantial support if you do that. Beware of Board deputies that advocate for him, consider his history & don’t come within a country mile of the guy.

  • Let me start off by saying I was a bob Olmsted supporter until recently I found out that he testified in fed court on the behalf of the 7 inmates who won a 740K settlement. (All were violence inmates facing murder or A/murder charges.) I’m sorry but that doesn’t sit well with me and I feel disappointed. He has taken that “whistle blower” title and ran with it. Where is the loyalty ? What kind of message are you sending to the troops?

  • @It’s time and The Past. Bob Olmsted has not picked a transition team. There have been no names discussed. @Mikej. Olmsted was subpoenaed to testify. When asked about the force Mr. Olmsted would not and could not testify about it. Stating “He was not a force expert.”

  • Interesting: Thanks, I hyperventilated when I saw the JH and thought it was the former U/S. I’ve communicated with some of Bob’s people & have learned the depth of the trolls on this site.

  • @ The Past. No problem. Bob will put careful consideration into his choices. He wants what’s best for the department, it’s members and the citizens of L.A. county.

  • Those would with hold voting for Olmsted because of perceptions of whom he may select as his U/S, let me say this. Whomever he selects will answer to him. I feel strongly that Olmsted will be committed and strong enough to make changes as necessary to “right the good ship LASD. He will be advice from a thousand corners on whom he should select for his transition team and Command Staff, And don’t kid yourself, there will be some very skilled ass-kissers looking for otherwise unattainable positions. I think Olmsted will see through these self-absorbed folks because bringing them on board will be in direct conflict with his plan for restoration of the Department’s values. Let’s get him elected first , then be critical of those personnel decisions. He broadcast his plan and will have to live with it. You cannot ask more of anyone. He will be ACCOUNTABLE .

  • BTW, I am not seeking a position in the new regime as a staff typist. Anyway, retirement is everything it’s cracked up to be. :=)

    John O’Brien proud ole retiree.

  • Sorry people , Olmstead is just as dirty and self serving as the outgoing crew of Adam Henries. His associates are not just whistle “blowers”.

  • @ “Behind the scene”: don’t just throw out a general statement like “just as dirty,” lets here some facts, otherwise your commentary is useless and not worth the time it took you to send it!

  • An interesting quote from the latest article:

    “Asked about McDonnell’s management style, Beck says don’t expect a tough guy who’ll force changes at a broken Sheriff’s Department. Instead, he says McDonnell would “charm the troops.”

    Great plan there McDonnell! Why don’t you take your “fresh set of eyes” and cough up a detailed plan on how you would fix the department? Or is your game plan to bask in the adoration of the political establishment, tell the voters to write you a blank check, and then your going to “charm the troops?”

    Translation: the disasters will remain in place, cancerous tumors will survive and multiply, all while precious time is lost as this LAPD retread plays footsie.

    Voters are demanding a tough guy who will force much needed changes. No thanks Jim, I’ll stick to Olmsted.

  • 32 and 33 spot on re: behind the scenes. Without supporting evidence, hold your tongue, #31. i based my opinion on personal experience with Olmsted. The reason I with held detain was out of respect for his [personal life. When I was still active, i had supervisors come to me and want an admin. done on someone who had simply pissed them off. I can tell you how far that got.

  • Behind the Scene- I will back you up. For the (3) bloggers asking the question: It’s called Plausible Deniability- a situation where a person can reasonably claim that they did not know anything about a situation. For example, a Commander can deny knowing anything about an event that took place in his jail because he was too concerned abiyt painting the walls white, scrubbing floors, changing light bulbs, or inspecting the deputy refrigerator. #24 Mike J. I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

  • @”IthacaBoomer”: Ok, where is your proof of Olmsted having “Plausible Deniability?” I think you need to look up that term and get a better understanding before you use it.

    The fact that you are backing “Behind the Scenes” play tells me how closed minded you are. What part of “he was subpoenaed” by the defense and thus compelled to show up, do you guys not get. And, when asked to give his opinion about the force, he declined to give an opinion, stating he was not a force expert. It is a very experienced and wise man who receives a defense subpoena, shows up, testifies and gives them nothing. Spin it how ever it makes you feel good, but it’s on court record that he did nothing to help the defense. What would you have done? Not gone to court?

  • Re: HUH… Absolutely right. these cretans who criticize Olmsted for “bloodying deputies by his testimony , speak volumes to a culture ( hopefully very small ) which has germinated in a petri dish created by a vial individual ( in my humble opinion ). What would you have asked to do ? Olmsted to do when subpoenaed and called to testify ? LIE ? It sounds to me that’s exactly the position you have taken. Does not the Brady decision call for the removal of police officers for perjury or less. If you folks really want to go after and correct the problems within LASD , you must take a position of absolute honesty. Can you do that ? I wonder. Until that time, step aside and let your honest and honorable colleagues step up. I know they are out there ,

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