No Job is Too Big and No Responsibility is Too Small
by Lee Baca
As Sheriff of our nation's largest county serving ten million people, my responsibility for public safety requires constant action, innovation, strong core values, cutting edge technology,
positive political partnerships at the federal, state, and local level. Also required is a daring to be different, no fear of criticism, transparency regarding our mistakes, full respect and cooperation with the media, and big ideas. Most important is the training of all my employees to be leaders who thirst for knowledge to do better. This permeates our thinking and actions.
By example, I teach my people to create ideas, celebrate diverse people, and establish religious harmony throughout the County. Our specific action-oriented achievements include but are not limited to the following:
- Our first order of business was to develop core values that prescriptively require all of us to address properly the legal, civil and human rights of all Americans.
Our Core Values:
As a leader in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, I commit myself to honorably perform my duties with respect for the dignity of all people, integrity to do right and fight wrongs, wisdom to apply common sense and fairness in all I do, and courage to stand against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism. homophobia and bigotry in all its forms.
- We have trained ourselves to be leaders who excel in our work responsibilities no matter what they are. To accomplish this, we created a Deputy Sheriff Leadership Institute that all sworn and professional personnel jointly attend without regard for individual rank, title or levels of responsibility.
- We provide educational opportunity at work sites for all employees so they may attain bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees. To accomplish this, we created an LASD University in partnership with five public and private universities who use our facilities for classrooms. This learning efficiency also created reduced tuition for the 2,000 Sheriff's personnel who are enrolled.
- We thirst for cutting edge technology. Although the Department has a Technical Services Division, key leaders have special responsibilities to seek new technical tools. We are currently developing, as an example, the radio car of the future.
- We protect civil rights as a duty. To accomplish this, I created the Office of Independent Review (OIR) comprised of six civil rights attorneys. This body monitors all criminal and administrative investigations from beginning to end. It also recommends discipline or corrective measures based on Department guidelines. Our investigative credibility has not been challenged since the OIR's inception.
- We have built an organizational culture that is consistently substantive and values human needs. We have mentors for employees who are in need of support, including psychologists and peer group volunteer counselors. Significant volunteer charitable activities are going on throughout all departments. We aspire to be the most charitable law enforcement agency in the nation.
- We have eliminated most of the negative aspects of bureaucracy. I manage from the middle down. I personally visit each of our seventy commands on a regular basis to listen to the complaints and concerns of our sworn and professional staff.
- Finally, we believe we can do it all. We have shaped the role of police work to that of universal social work that reduces human misery and crime. We are supportive healers of human despair within children and adults. We believe that, “No job is too big and no responsibility is too small.”
Because of these practices and approach, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is a hotbed of hundreds of successful activities and programs led by 14,500 leaders backed by a 1.7 billion dollar budget and growing.