KHTS AM-1220, SCVTV, The Signal and College of the Canyons Cougar News hosted a Santa Clarita candidate forum Saturday featuring five of the seven candidates for the next sheriff of Los Angeles County.
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In November, Los Angeles County voters will have a chance to select a new sheriff, who will be chosen from two candidates, after the June primary.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is the nation’s largest of its kind, and there are more than 18,000 sworn officers.
The sheriff oversees law enforcement for more than 40 cities in Los Angeles County, which contract with the department, in addition to oversight of the county’s jails.
The race is considered wide open because former Sheriff Lee Baca unexpectedly retired after nearly five decades with the department. His replacement, John Scott, was appointed by the Board of Supervisors on condition he would not seek the office in June.
Related article: Sheriff Lee Baca Announces Retirement After 48 Years With Department
The move came amid federal indictments for several high-ranking members of the Sheriff’s Department.
The candidates were asked to address questions on the different aspects of the job of sheriff. (The candidates’ videos are listed in alphabetical order.)
Representatives from Santa Clarita Valley news outlets asked Los Angeles County sheriff candidates the following questions:
1. In light of the recent concern that have plagued the Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Leroy Baca’s early retirement, what do you do to restore public confidence for those concerned about the department?
2. How much oversight is too much, as far as civilian involvement and intervention from the political arena?
3. There were mixed reviews for education-based incarcerations. What do you think of the programs?
4. AB 109 has been roundly criticized by law enforcement officials. How do you lower the recidivism rate through programming ?
5. We’re the sheriff’s largest contract city — when the city of Santa Clarita funds a higher level of police services than does the county in the unincorporated areas, how do you insure the police services in the unincorporated areas of the SCV stay comparable? (Candidate had up to 90 seconds to answer.)
6. DUI and driver’s license checkpoints are supported with federal money. Why do you think this is the best way to educate the public, or would you propose an alternative?
7. If you had to choose between budget cuts for patrols versus jail service, how would you make that determination?
The race for sheriff of Los Angeles County includes seven candidates who qualified for the ballot: Patrick Gomez, a retired sheriff lieutenant; James Hellmold, an assistant sheriff; Jim McDonnell, chief of the Long Beach Police Department; Bob Olmsted, a retired sheriff commander; Todd Rogers, a Palmdale city councilman and assistant sheriff; and Paul Tanaka, a retired undersheriff.
Based on fundraising totals, the top five candidates and most likely contenders for the November ballot were chosen. Gomez and Vince were not invited to the forum.
Vince is a Los Angeles Police Department senior supervising detective who lives in Agua Dulce. He was recently featured in a KHTS AM-1220 article.
Related article: Agua Dulce Man, LAPD Detective Supervisor Seeks Sheriff’s Office
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A March report on LATimes.com regarding candidate fundraising noted in the last campaign disclosure period from January to mid-March, Hellmold raised $330,676; McDonnell raised $307,000; Tanaka $266,885; Rogers, $121,614; Olmsted, $46,000; and Vince raised $12,709.
Source: Santa Clarita News