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Sheriff wows Women's Civic League crowd

September 27, 2011|By Ruth Sowby
  • Womens Civic League new President Lynda Burns welcomes Sheriff Lee Baca, first speaker for the Leagues 2011-12 year. (Photo by Ruth Sowby)
Womens Civic League new President Lynda Burns welcomes…

Founded in 1946 and growing strong with 89 members, the Women’s Civic League continues to make its presence felt in Glendale. Thursday’s luncheon meeting at the Elks Lodge was no exception. Speaker Sheriff Lee Baca started the league’s new year with a bang. And President Lynda Burns couldn’t have been more pleased.

Baca more than held his own in front of his knowledgeable audience. But with a USC doctorate in public administration, this top cop knows his business. He also flew all night from Israel to make sure he didn’t miss this speaking engagement. Baca had been in Israel for “Muslim outreach.” According to Baca, “The Muslim community must be on our side if we’re going to win any war.”

Here at home, the 69-year-old Franklin High graduate from Highland Park also knows his business. As National Chair of “Fight Crime, Invest in Kids,” Baca oversees 18 youth centers. He makes sure young center members receive after-school food and experience camping on Saturdays. The centers’ staffs also provide parental counseling.

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Baca also began a program he plans on expanding. He calls it “education-based incarceration.” (According to Baca, more than half of California’s incarcerated have not completed high school.) Baca joked about the inmates in the program having “perfect attendance” in the classes — every school teacher’s dream. In fact, for many years Baca worked in law enforcement by day and attended education courses by night for his teaching certificate, a master’s degree and doctorate.

Glendale members of the Women’s Civic League listened intently to Baca’s breadth of knowledge and experience. He has been Los Angeles County sheriff for three terms and will be running for a fourth term. Perhaps a little campaigning was going on, but at the end of his remarks, Baca left plenty of time for questions. Glendale resident Mirna Stanley asked about California’s early-release program for non-violent offenders, and Baca said he “will GPS all inmates” and plans to begin setting up an ankle-bracelet program through the probation department.

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