[KHTS] – The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors named Orange County Undersheriff John Scott to serve as L.A. County’s interim sheriff Tuesday. He starts Friday.
The search for a new sheriff began after Sheriff Leroy “Lee” Baca announced his intention to retire by the end of the month on Jan. 7, after 48 years with the department and 15 years as sheriff.
Baca’s announcement came after a slew of controversies, and when asked if it was related to his potential involvement in a federal investigation, he said he “didn’t want a campaign that was full of negative politicking.”
Scott will assume command of the department Jan. 30 and will work as interim sheriff until a sheriff is elected, which may take until the end of the year.
Scott joined the Sheriff’s Department in January of 1969, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department website.
He patrolled in the Lakewood Station area before being promoted to sergeant then lieutenant in 1984.
Scott worked at the Men’s Central Jail, the Office of Emergency Management, and was the executive aide to the assistant sheriff before being promoted to captain and taking command of Carson Station in 1995.
In 2001 he became acting chief and was in command of the Custody Operations Division, North Facilities.
Scott graduated from Redlands University with a Bachelor’s Degree in management and earned his Master’s Degree in public communications from Pepperdine University.
During his time as acting chief he resided in Yorba Linda with his wife, Alice, a lieutenant with the Sheriff’s Department, and their two sons, Benjamin, and Wesley. He also has two sons working in the computer field, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department website.
Board Chairman Don Knabe issued this statement about Scott: “The Sheriff’s Department is at a crossroads, and John has the necessary experience and skills to step in right away and lead in the interim. During his over 40 years in law enforcement, John has served in capacities across the board, from operating the County’s jails to patrolling unincorporated communities. This wide range of experience will allow John to continue our efforts to aggressively implement recommendations made by the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence, while maintaining the great work of the thousands of men and women who keep our communities safe. During his tenure with Orange County, John has been instrumental in turning around a department that faced similar conditions to those we face today in Los Angeles County. I would like to thank Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens for allowing John to take a leave from his duties as Undersheriff to return to Los Angeles County. Sheriff Hutchens began her law enforcement career with Los Angeles County, and she cares greatly about the department’s future. The Board looks forward to working closely with John over the next 10 months before a newly elected Sheriff takes over the department.”
Fifth District Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich added: “With considerable experience in law enforcement and strong leadership qualities, John Scott will be a superb interim sheriff to lead the department until voters elect a new sheriff.”
The nomination period for candidates for Office of the Sheriff is between Feb. 10 and March 7, although the filing date may be extended to March 12 at 5 p.m. if an incumbent has not filed in time.
The primary election will take place June 3 and a candidate needs at least 51 percent of the votes to win. If no one receives the majority of votes, a runoff election will take place in November during the general election.