Recently elected Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna vowed to ensure accountability and “good policing” at his swearing-in ceremony on December 3.
“I want to thank the voters of Los Angeles County for electing me as the 34th sheriff and entrusting me with a very clear mandate to bring new leadership and accountability,” Luna said in his opening remarks.
Sheriff Luna, the former Long Beach police chief, will replace former Sheriff Alex Villanueva as the city’s 34th sheriff to lead the 10,000 deputy-strong agency.
During a 20-minute speech with family at his side, Luna said he would focus on cooperating with local officials and breaking up “gangs of deputies” in the department.
Indeed, Luna spent the days following his election meeting with elected officials such as the five members of the Board of Supervisors, District Attorney George Gascon and Inspector General Max Huntsman, who were all involved in spats with the former sheriff.
“There are, unfortunately, fractured relationships that need to be fixed,” Luna said. “Sometimes, the way you approach governing makes a huge difference.”
He also promised to fight violent crime, property crime and homelessness in the city with a population of 10 billion residents.
“We must continue to embrace change,” he said. “If our streets are unsafe for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, if our homeless crisis causes desperation and misery … then we will never have public safety.”
Luna also vowed to eliminate “deputy gangs” and improve conditions in jails.
“We need to defend good policing. It is our responsibility to call out bad policing, and we will do so — that’s an element of keeping the public trust.”
The sheriff said his first move would be to promote April Tardy as the agency’s undersheriff — a move to signal his commitment to promoting racial diversity.
Luna’s predecessor Alex Villanueva was known for his frequent political clashes with elected officials and the county’s Board of Supervisors.
In particular, Villanueva was a frequent critic of the “woke agenda” adhered to by city leaders.
Villanueva claimed that allegations of malfeasance against his deputies were “false narratives” created by political opponents.
The outgoing Villanueva said he was proud of the way his administration handled the jail system during the pandemic, dealt humanely with the homeless and reformed the department’s body camera program.