Paul Tanaka, Sheriff's 2nd-In-Command & Once Head Of Troubled L.A. County Jails, Retires

Paul Tanaka, the controversial second-in-command at the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, heavily criticized for his oversight of a troubled jails system, is retiring, the department announced this afternoon.

The undersheriff is also the mayor of Gardena and won a third term in yesterday's election despite announcing that he would not campaign for the job.

Oversight for the jails was removed from Tanaka's job description last year, although he still has responsibility for the sheriff's budget:

A statement from the department said his retirement would be effective Aug. 1.

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Reason given? None.

Tanaka has been the focus of criticism over deputies' beatings of inmates inside the county jails system. One of the victims was a visitor, not an inmate, LA Weekly reported.

A blue-ribbon Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence last year blamed Tanaka's oversight, or lack thereof, for some of the violence. There have been allegations of gang-like cliques of deputies who work in county lockups.

Ultimately Sheriff Lee Baca took the heat for the problems, claiming he didn't know what was happening in his jails despite a decade's worth of reporting and criticism regarding the clashes.

Tanaka was pulled away from jails oversight last year when Baca released an organizational chart showing that his longtime second-in-command had only the budget under his purview.

In today's statement, Tanaka, who came to the department in 1982, is credited with creating the Asian Crimes Task Force directing the Gang Crimes Enforcement Program.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]


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