MONTEREY PARK (CBSLA.com) — Assistant Sheriff Jim Hellmold has entered the race to replace Lee Baca.
In his first television interview since his announcement, Hellmold, who started his 25-year law enforcement career as an aide to Baca, told KCAL9's Dave Bryan that he can see clearly what the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department needs.
"I have a vision for the sheriff's department to modernize its patrol and detective resources with the emergence of advanced technology and cyber-crime. The sheriff's department needs to be a modern policing agency with the technical skills, the equipment," he said.
When Hellmold was asked about running for sheriff last week, he said he was a crime fighter, not a politician. He said he's now ready to run.
"What I meant by, 'I'm not a politician, I'm a crime fighter,' is that I'm not a skilled politician. What's important to me is not necessarily seeking political endorsements or hunting for political gain, but actually seeking community support and that's my priority," Hellmold said.
Baca, who will retire at the end of January, has embraced the candidacy of Hellmold, as well as Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers.
Some political analysts, however, believe Baca's endorsements are questionable.
"You have people that want to take it to a negative campaign and try to belittle any position I might have had as an aide of the sheriff since the sheriff is under a lot of scrutiny, but the reality is I have a 25-year career on the frontline. More than half of my career has been on the overnight shift working early mornings. When everybody else is asleep, I've been on the frontline," Hellmold said.
Rogers also had a response for the critics who believe he's tied to Baca.
"I'm my own person. I'm not Lee Baca. I'm Todd Rogers," Rogers said.
Rogers said that sometimes an "insider" like him is better positioned to bring real change to an organization like the sheriff's department.
"What I have over an 'outside' candidate is knowledge of every nook and cranny in the sheriff's department. I know all the personalities, I know all the leaders who are underperforming," he said.
Former undersheriff Paul Tanaka, former Cmdr. Bob Olmsted, and Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell are some of the other candidates who have thrown their hats in the sheriff's ring.
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