Hellmold loses -- again
Former candidate for sheriff demoted the day after losing race
By André Coleman 06/11/2014
In the end, James Hellmold may have been the biggest loser in the race to replace Lee Baca as Los Angeles County sheriff.
The morning after the race, Hellmold received a call from Interim Sheriff John Scott informing the former third man in charge that he had been demoted from assistant sheriff to chief. Scott said in a written statement that Hellmold was promoted too quickly under Baca and will benefit from working at a lower rank.
“Prior administration promoted him two ranks, and he will now … gain the proper operational experience that he missed,” the statement said.
Hellmold was previously in charge of detectives and patrol. He rose through the ranks after serving as Baca’s driver.
Hellmold told the Los Angeles Times that he would be professional about the demotion.
“It’s his prerogative,” Hellmold said of Scott. “I’ll be professional through good times and bad times,” he said. “I’m proud of this department and I’m happy to serve in any capacity whatsoever. There are no bad assignments in the Sheriff’s Department.”
In Tuesday’s primary election, Hellmold came in fourth with 8 percent of the vote. Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell dominated the field with 49 percent and will face retired Undersheriff Paul Tanaka in a runoff in November.
The announcement came on the same day that Hellmold announced that he would support McDonnell.
Although Baca did not support anyone in the race, according to a story in the LA Weekly, he was quietly supporting Hellmold, who did not take shots at Baca during the campaign. Baca retired in February after the grand jury indicted 18 officers for conspiring to keep a witness from testifying about abuse allegations at the hands of deputies working in the county’s jail system.