Paul Tanaka, who is running against Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, his former boss, in next year’s election, issued a statement on Dec. 19 in response to a Los Angeles Times report alleging wrongdoing in the Sheriff’s Department.

Paul Tanaka
Paul Tanaka

The newspaper said on Dec. 18 that Baca maintained a special hiring program that granted preferential treatment to friends and relatives of department officials, including some candidates who were given jobs despite having troubled histories.

Tanaka, who resigned as undersheriff earlier this year, commented, “The sheriff’s personal hiring program known as ‘Friends of the Sheriff’ is just one of many reasons why the department has been riddled with scandal. The profession of law enforcement officer requires the highest standard of conduct and character. Any law enforcement agency, not just the LASD, is required to hire only the best of the best as guardians of the law without favoritism or nepotism. Each applicant must possess a lifelong history demonstrating exemplary conduct.

“As sheriff, in addition to fixing the organizational structure and levels of accountability, I will ensure that our department is hiring only the highest level of individuals to become a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy.”

On Dec. 11, Tanaka made his first public statement after the federal government arrested 18 current and former members of the department in a jail abuse and corruption scandal.

“The residents of Los Angeles County deserve better, as do the hard-working men and women of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department,” Tanaka said. “It’s time for the sheriff to take responsibility for the decisions he has made as the top public safety official in the county.

“I’m running for sheriff because I believe we can do better, and we can do it together. It’s time to end the blame game, and give the residents of Los Angeles County a department they can trust and one in which deputies can be proud to serve. That’s why I’m running for sheriff.”

Tanaka, who was also criticized in a county commission’s report on inmate abuse in the jails, and another former member of the department, retired Cmdr. Bob Olmsted, are the major candidates challenging Baca’s bid for a fifth term.

The Times quoted Olmsted — whose campaign slogan is “Olmsted Instead” — as saying that the arrests are further proof that neither Baca nor Tanaka is qualified for the job.

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  1. Paul Tanaka is responsible for all the corruption in the Sheriff’s Department. Let’s not forget he RAN the department’s operations as Undersheriff. Everything being reported today that he claims he would fix happened under his leadership as well as Baca’s. He will likely be indicted by the Feds for his involvement in the corruption. Let’s not gloss over his shortcomings just because he is JA. He was involved in shipping bullet-proof vests and radio cars to Cambodia through Gardena, he was involved in the shooting of an unarmed Korean kid and he has the Viking tattoo (a tattoo indicating his involvement in the deputy gangs who acted like thugs), he was responsible for the current jail scandal as reported by an independent commission.

  2. I am a retired member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and resident of the city of Gardena. Therefore, I can speak with 100% credibility that Paull Tanaka as the Under Sheriff reduced crime in Los Angeles County,

    To those of us who live in Gardena, came from Gardena, love Gardena restaurants, remember not too long ago Gardena was facing a financial catastrophe, bankruptcy!

    Who fixed it, Paul Tanaka did!

    Crime was bad in Gardena.

    Who fixed it, Paul Tanaka did!

    Gardena had a multi-million dollar deficit.

    Again, Paul Tanaka fixed it!

    Now, Gardena has an $11 million dollar surplus!!!

    Paul dropped crime in Sheriff’s jurisdictions.

    Paul ran the Sheriff’s Department budget for 11 years and even with the Department’ huge budget cuts, Paul never went in the red ink!

    Now that Paul Tanaka has retired August 1st, 2013, crime is up in Sheriff’s jurisdiction’s.

    Now the LA County Sheriff’s Department has big problems!!!

    Paul Tanaka will fix the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

    It’s crystal clear Paul Tanaka has the experience! It’s clear Paul Tanaka has the proven track record! It’s clear Paul Tanaka is a Proven Leader!