Securing the homeland in a 16-hour day
L.A. County Sheriff Leroy Baca keeps frenetic pace to fight terrorist threat. Although he is 8,000 miles from US troops in the Gulf, Leroy Baca rises before dawn each morning with equal amounts of military precision and patriotic urgency.
At 5:30 a.m., the 60-year-old Mexican-American will run 8 miles (32 laps) around the track of California Polytechnic Institute near his San Marino home. Then he will switch from Nikes and sweatshirt to patent-leather shoes and uniform as chief law enforcement officer of the nation’s largest county. For the next 16 hours, he will oversee thousands of “troops” – uniformed street officers, hazardous material experts, medical personnel and others – in a war against an almost intangible foe: domestic terror. Sheriff to 10.5 million people, Mr. Baca is a leading steward in the crucial mission of maintaining homeland security, a task that has grown in urgency since the war on Iraq started. Full Story