baca8x10t2-copyLos Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca’s challenges and repudiations have been mounting in the last few weeks. An FBI investigation into conditions at the nation’s largest jail system, along with reports of the behaviors of the jailers themselves has left Baca facing pressure and scrutiny. And in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Sheriff Baca agrees that he was out of touch with conditions, his system was slow to adopt reforms, and ultimately the responsibility is his.

But the simple answer isn’t always the most correct answer.

Sheriff Baca oversees not only the massive jail system, but his department is also responsible for patrolling neighborhoods, providing security for the area’s transit system, and court security. With so many areas of responsibility, Baca must rely heavily upon communication and coordination with his subordinates, and they failed to keep him in the loop.

For instance, Baca said he was unaware that surveillance cameras that were purchased to monitor inmate and deputy behavior still hadn’t been installed after more than a year. However, when he visited a jail and saw the cameras sitting in their boxes in a captain’s office, he redoubled his department’s efforts to have them up and running by the end of the year. He then reprimanded his subordinates.

From the Los Angeles Times:

In a searing self-critique, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca acknowledged that he was out of touch about problems in his jails and had failed to implement important reforms that could have minimized deputy brutality against inmates.

Faced with an FBI investigation into the jail system and mounting criticism over his handling of the crisis, Baca said in a long interview with The Times that his command staff has at times left him in the dark about the jails’ woes.

Read the full article here.