MONTEREY PARK, Calif.—An emotional Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca announced he would retire Tuesday during a news conference at department headquarters in Monterey Park, reported KTLA Channel 5 news.
“I will go out on my terms. I’m not going to seek reelection for a fifth term as sheriff, and I will retire at the end of this month,” Baca said as his voice cracked.
“The reasons for doing so are so many. Some are most personal and private, but the prevailing one is the negative perception this upcoming campaign has brought to the exemplary service provided by the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department,” Baca told a crowd of reporters.
Surrounded by deputies and department brass, Baca, 71, went on to say he had been honored to work for the Sheriff’s Department for 48 years.
“In my opinion, your Sheriff’s Department is the greatest law enforcement agency in the world,” he said to applause.
He thanked county voters, his mentors and predecessors for helping him to become sheriff.
Baca has served as sheriff since 1998, and was up for reelection in June.