For Sheriff Lee Baca, the last couple of years have been rough.

His department is being investigated by the U.S.  A county commission examining abuse in Baca's jails found him to be disengaged and uninformed saying he probably would have been fired in the private sector. Secret deputy cliques with gang-like hand signs and matching tattoos have surfaced. And Baca has been accused of using his office for the benefit of friends, relatives and donors.

Despite those challenges, Baca has been awarded Sheriff of the Year by the National Sheriffs' Assn.

His spokesman said the honor was appropriate given Baca is "the most progressive sheriff in the nation" and "a guy that works seven days a week."

Read the full Los Angeles Times story.

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