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January 7, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
After months of deepening federal investigations, damning news exposes and a scathing county commission report that decried his "failure of leadership," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca finally took the hint Tuesday and announced that he would step down at the end of the month rather than seek a fifth four-year term. It's the right decision, and one we hope will enable the department to reverse some of Baca's many mistakes and begin to fix the many problems that have plagued it during his nearly 16-year tenure.
January 7, 2014 | By Kate Mather and Abby Sewell
Sheriff Lee Baca's surprise decision to retire was met with shock and praise across Los Angeles County. Baca announced Tuesday he will step down at the end of the month. The move comes amid several scandals in the Sheriff's Department and an ongoing federal investigation into deputy abuse in the jails. County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who had been Baca's most vocal critic on the board, said of the sheriff's resignation: "It was very shocking and very surprising. It certainly caught me off guard.
January 5, 2014 | By Cindy Carcamo
TUCSON - A federal judge has given opponents of Arizona's sweeping anti-illegal-immigration law access to emails, letters and memos between supporters of SB 1070 and legislators to see whether there are racial overtones in the messages. In December, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton in Phoenix rejected arguments made by two of the law's supporters, who maintained that communications sent to lawmakers who created and supported SB 1070 were confidential. Challengers to SB 1070 called Bolton's ruling a victory because their lawsuit was based partly on allegations that legislators meant to discriminate against Latinos and other people of color.
December 31, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Tighter gun controls, new rights for immigrants and a measure increasing access to abortion are among many hundreds of California laws that take effect with the new year. Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature also restricted the controversial oil-drilling technique known as fracking and allowed transgender students to choose which school restrooms to use and sports teams to join, based on their gender identity. California's willingness to address contentious policy issues, many of which have remained suspended in Washington's partisan divide, comes in the state's new era of one-party rule.
December 30, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
In 2013, some of the year's biggest headlines involved cop killers. There was MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who authorities said was shot and killed by the Tsarnaev brothers after the Boston Marathon bombings in April. There was Christopher Dorner's vengeful rampage across Southern California in February. Two of the four people he killed were police officers. Yet those tragedies would prove the exceptions in 2013, which may have been one of the safest years in modern history for American police.
December 29, 2013 | By Howard Blume
Authorities are asking for the public's help in gathering additional evidence against a group of teenagers who allegedly posed as Temecula police officers while staging pranks against their unsuspecting victims. The first report to police involved two separate incidents on the evening of Dec. 23, but the pranksters may have been involved in other similar acts, according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. “The suspects used high-powered flashlights and electronic megaphones to order the victims out of their cars and to lie face down on the pavement,” according to  the Sheriff's Department.
December 28, 2013 | By Jason Song
Los Angeles County law enforcement officers have arrested nearly 1,700 motorists on suspicion of intoxicated driving during the last 15 days as part of an annual holiday crackdown, authorities reported Saturday. The total is a slight increase over last year, when there were 1,600 arrests on suspicion of drunken or drugged driving made between Dec. 13 and Dec. 28, authorities said. The crackdown, known as the "Avoid the 100" campaign, includes dozens of checkpoints and 200 "saturation" police and sheriff's patrols throughout the county.
December 25, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Law enforcement agencies across Los Angeles County announced this week that they had arrested 1,366 people for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in an 11-day span earlier this month.   The effort between Dec. 13 at 12:01 a.m. and Dec. 23 at midnight is part of a winter crackdown on drunk drivers and exceeds the 1,298 arrests issued over the same 11-day period in 2012, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff's Department said Tuesday that the California Highway Patrol's maximum enforcement period runs from 6 p.m. Christmas Eve through midnight on Christmas.
December 22, 2013 | Gale Holland
Alicia Mendivil said she was scared when a guard asked to see her ticket before she sat down in one of Union Station's art deco armchairs. The holiday traveler from Yuma, Ariz., didn't feel much better when she learned the reason: a crackdown on homeless people who officials said had turned the cavernous downtown transportation hub into a shelter. "You can tell a homeless person from somebody who's not, can't you?" said Mendivil, a Christmas wreath brooch winking from her lapel.
December 15, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Think insurance regulation is a dull business? Tell that to Eric Weirich, California's top insurance cop. Weirich, a deputy commissioner at the Insurance Department, leads a force of 275 in the fight against crime in the $80-billion-a-year insurance industry. His division investigates and teams up with county district attorneys to prosecute staged auto collisions, arson, bogus workers' compensation claims, fraud against insurers and policyholders, and other crimes.
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