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Interim Sheriff John Scott discusses his intentions for his limited tenure

LA County Interim Sheriff John Scott expects to be on the job for under a year. What does he intend to do in that time?
February 10, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Los Angeles County's new interim sheriff expects to be on the job for less than a year. So what does John Scott intend to do in that time? He sat down with Eyewitness News for his first television interview as sheriff.

It's his second week on the job as interim sheriff of Los Angeles County and John Scott says he's making meaningful changes.

"I started out by doing some of the symbolic-type changes that meant a lot to the rank-and-file," said Scott.

One of those symbolic changes had to do with a climate-controlled, members-only patio and barbeque area at sheriff's headquarters that was once reserved for certain high-ranking officials and their allies. Last week, Sheriff Scott sent out a memo saying that the patio would be open to all.

"That lounge represented inclusive behavior by various members of the department, particularly in the upper ranks," said Scott.

Sheriff Scott has made other changes. Most notably, he did away with the field deputy program created by his predecessor, Lee Baca. He had very specific reasons for doing away with the program.

"The problem was there was other issues going on, as developed by your station, and there was issues going on that was being learned from within," said Scott.

Former Sheriff Baca had employed four civilian field deputies, most making more than $100,000 a year. An Eyewitness News investigation revealed several potential irregularities with the positions.

"Since they reported directly to the sheriff, nobody knew exactly what they were doing, other than they were part of the sheriff's field deputy program," said Scott.

Scott started working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in 1969. He climbed through the ranks before retiring as a commander in 2005. He says he had his reasons for retiring.

"I had differences in the direction the department was taking, and quite honestly, there was some people that were selected that differed in my philosophy and my leadership style," said Scott.

Scott became the undersheriff in Orange County. He will return to Orange County once L.A. County voters pick a new sheriff later this year. Until then, he says he'll keep working to help the L.A. County Sheriff's Department regain its image.

"It's been interesting. Probably 14-hour days, easily, for the first week," said Scott. "But I feel productive."


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