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LA's Lee Baca named national sheriff of the year

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who has been under fire for jailhouse abuses, has been picked as the nation's Sheriff of the Year.

The National Sheriff's Association, which has about 2,700 members, says Baca is being honored for providing educational opportunities for jail inmates and efforts to reach out to a variety of religious groups in the community.

The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/WnQaE9 ) says the group also notes the vast size of the Sheriff's Department and the relatively low crime rates in areas patrolled by deputies.

Baca's department is being investigated by the FBI for jailhouse abuses. Federal investigators are also examining allegations that deputies harassed minorities.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore says Baca is the most progressive sheriff in the nation and the honor is deserved.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

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