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Tanaka Rolls Out Plan To ‘Restore Trust’ Inside Sheriff’s Department

Paul Tanaka, candidate for Los Angeles County Sheriff during his visit and interview this week at Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper office in Cerritos.

Paul Tanaka, candidate for Los Angeles County Sheriff during his visit and interview at Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper office in Cerritos. Randy Economy Photo

By Randy Economy

Paul Tanaka, one of the leading challengers in the race to replace former Sheriff Lee Baca here in Los Angeles County rolled out his plan to “restore trust” into the agency that has been besieged with dozens of arrests of current and past officers, and officials by the US Department of Justice.

Tanaka, who served as Undersheriff under Baca, told Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper on Monday that “there have been questions regarding the culture of the Sheriff’s Department and the possible changes that must be made to restore trust and dependability back into the department from the residents of Los Angeles County.”

Tanaka, who is also the current Mayor of the city of Gardena, told HMG-CN that “it is with a heavy heart I have watched a once proud organization become reduced to the latest news headline.”

“I have watched hardworking men and women of this department suffer from a fundamental lack of leadership. After dedicating 33 years of my life to public service, I decided to run for Sheriff of Los Angeles County to give the 18,000 civilian and sworn employees a leader they can trust to guide them successfully into the future and the people of LA County a Sheriff’s Department they can trust to keep them safe while abiding by the highest possible standards of conduct,” Tanaka said.

 Tanaka is facing five challengers in the June 3rd California Primary election that also features Patrick L. Gomez, a retired Sheriff Lieutenant; James Hellmold, a current Assistant Sheriff; Bob Olmsted, a former Commander at the LASD; Todd Rogers, the current Assistant Sheriff as well as a current member of the Lakewood City Council and Lou Vince, who is a Detective Supervisor for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Tanaka said that the new Sheriff, should be “responsible for setting the tone and standards that every employee in the department will follow.”

Tanaka sat down with HMG-CN several months ago when he decided to enter the campaign against his former boss Baca. Since then, Baca abruptly announced his retirement which resulted in political scramble by candidates to enter the fray.

Baca had been the Sheriff of Los Angeles County for 16 years.

Tanaka said that “in order to change the direction of the department we must begin at the top with effective and consistent leadership.”

In Tanaka’s newly published plan, he says that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department “deserves a leader who understands how to get the best out of its exceptional 18,000 employees –deputies and civilians alike.”

He said that “this a critical time in the department’s history – we must seize the opportunity to return the LASD to its appropriate place – rooted in excellence. I hope that you will join me in this effort.”

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