Los Angeles County Sheriff

By Robert Faturechi
March 12, 2014, 11:06 p.m.

The candidates for Los Angeles County sheriff sharpened their attacks Wednesday night, accusing each other of mismanagement and opportunism in front of a Van Nuys audience gathered for their second debate.

Unlike the debate last month, this time the candidates directed multiple barbs at the men sitting beside them, some veiled and some not.

Assistant Sheriff Jim Hellmold, one of two candidates former Sheriff Lee Baca tapped to run, called out former Cmdr. Bob Olmsted more than once. Before retiring, Olmsted oversaw the department’s most troubled jails. He has described himself as a whistle blower who tried to alert top brass about inmate abuse and aggressive deputy “gangs” but was ignored.

“What we need is a leader who’s not ignored within the organization,” Hellmold said. “You either ignored gang activity … or you were totally ineffective.”

At another point, Hellmold seemed to make a veiled attack at the two candidates in the race who come from outside law enforcement agencies: “When I see troubles at other organizations, I don’t see opportunities for myself.”

Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell, who has the longest list of big-name endorsements so far, deflected that criticism, saying he had experience reforming police forces and could do the same at the Sheriff’s Department. He cited his work fixing problems at the LAPD after the Rampart corruption scandal, and making improvements within the Long Beach Police Department when he took over there.

“I have dealt with being an outsider before,” he said.

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