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Long Beach’s Police Chief Tests Positive For COVID-19

A man in a dark suit and blue tie smiles for the camera. Behind him we see a park and some sort of public monument.
Long Beach police chief Robert Luna, pictured at Hilltop Park in Signal Hill on the day he announced his candidacy for L.A. Sheriff last December.
(Frank Stoltze / LAist
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LAist)
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The Long Beach Police Department announced late Tuesday that outgoing Police Chief Robert Luna has tested positive for COVID-19.

Luna is ill but in good spirits and is self-isolating. “Chief Luna believes his symptoms could have been much worse if he were not vaccinated,” noted the release.

In that same release, the police department encouraged personnel to have up-to-date vaccinations to slow the spread of the virus.

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The Long Beach Police Department has the lowest vaccination rates of the city’s employees, according to a Tuesday memo from City Manager Thomas Modica. The department has 68% of staff fully vaccinated, which includes both civilian and sworn officers. That rate is below the overall average for fully vaccinated adults in the city, which is currently at 85.2%.

Some law enforcement officers and firefighters, both locally and nationwide, have pushed back against vaccine mandates. The Los Angeles Fire Dept. has at least 75 members on unpaid leave for refusing to comply with COVID vaccine requirements and announced a shortened training period for new recruits in anticipation of terminating current staff.

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has said he is fully vaccinated, said he refuses to enforce a vaccine mandate for his deputies and warned doing so could lead to a "mass exodus."

Luna, who is retiring from the Long Beach force, announced earlier this month that he will run against Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who will face at least six challengers.

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Frank Stoltze contributed to this story.