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Sheriff Lee Baca goes on patrol to save OT

March 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca went on uniformed patrol in East Los Angeles Friday as part of an effort to save the department millions of dollars in overtime.Baca is taking over deputy shifts that would otherwise require overtime. He said he'll fill in at least once a month.

The sheriff has ordered everyone from the rank of captain and above to also pitch in to fill shift gaps caused by cuts in overtime.

"I've asked all of my command staff to go out and help do this and as a result if I asked them to do it, I have to do it," said Baca.

It expects to save $58 million by the middle of next year with the plan.

The department is eliminating 300 frozen positions to save another $44 million.

And it will cut back another $26 million by transferring hundreds of inmates from the detention center in Castaic to other jails in the county system.

In all, the sheriff's department hopes to reduce its budget by $128 million over the next 16 months.

"We don't have the money that we used to have because of the $128 million cut. So I have get in there and backfield this along with a lot of people in the sheriff's department so that we reduce out expenditures," Baca said.

The sheriff even sat through a shift change briefing just like every other deputy is expected to do before he headed out on patrol with a partner.

Sheriff Baca admits he has never fired a gun while on duty, but says he has expert training and is as fit as anyone.

"I run seven or eight miles a day. If anyone thinks they are going to get in a foot pursuit with me they better think twice," said Baca.

Sheriff Baca's 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift saved the department $660.