Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna announced his appointment for director of his new Office of Constitutional Policing on February 15.
The selection of Eileen Decker, L.A.’s former top federal prosecutor and former head of the L.A. Police Commission, indicates that Luna is focusing on elevating the position of constitutional policing advisor, a role that was unclear under the previous administration lead by former Sheriff Alex Villanueva, per LAist.
“We’re not messing around,” said Luna, who noted during his campaign that he will be taking the issue of deputy gangs more seriously than his predecessor.
According to Luna, Decker’s role will help the department break up deputy gangs accused of abuses, comply with consent decrees and improve policies to ensure that they conform to the U.S. Constitution.
“Director Decker is one of the top civilian law enforcement professionals in our country, and an accomplished attorney,” Luna said in a statement. “She will bring invaluable leadership to our office, and help us improve public safety and public trust in the Sheriff’s Department.”
Decker and her team “will continuously be looking at policies, they will be looking at our training, they will be looking at our systems of accountability to make sure that we not only meet national standards but exceed them,” Luna explained.
Decker previously served as U.S. attorney in Los Angeles from 2015 to 2017, when the office successfully prosecuted former Sheriff Lee Baca for obstruction of justice in his attempt to cover up jailhouse abuses, reports LAist.
Decker has also had experience as a frontline federal prosecutor working on consent decrees mandating reforms at various police departments. She also served as a co-chair on Luna’s transition team after he was elected to office.
In her new role, Decker will be responsible for making sure the department complies with use-of-force mandates and improves mental health care inside jails.
“I’m honored to join the Sheriff’s Department as the director of the Office of Constitutional Policing,” Decker said. “The employees of this department are talented and courageous, and I have the highest respect for their work to keep our communities safe. My career has been dedicated to public safety and public service, and this assignment is the culmination of my life’s work. I want to thank Sheriff Luna for his confidence in me, and I’m looking forward to getting to work.”
“My job simply is to get the department to not fall short,” Decker continued.
The move to establish an Office of Constitutional Policing comes years after the California attorney general opened a civil rights investigation into the agency in 2020, and the department’s oversight commission began investigating “deputy gangs.”
“This is an incredible Department, but like any organization, we can always do better,” Luna said. “The Office of Constitutional Policing will help our department eradicate Deputy gangs, comply with consent decrees, and ensure our policies, procedures, and operations uphold people’s constitutional rights. This Office is an important step forward in my promise to bring new leadership and accountability to the Sheriff’s Department.”
“I want to make it clear that if there’s public corruption, we’re not looking the other way,” Luna added.