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LA County Sheriff Robert Luna Starts His Term Today

A smiling man with dark gray hair and mustache, wearing a sheriff's uniform, stands behind a podium with red and blue and green flowers in vases on pedestals behind him
New Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna is sworn in as the 34th Los Angeles Sheriff by the Honorable Samantha Jersey, Presiding Judge-elect of the Superior Court of Los Angeles Count.
(Brian Feinzimer
for LAist)
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Los Angeles County officially has a new sheriff. Former Long Beach police chief Robert Luna was sworn in over the weekend after defeating incumbent Alex Villanueva in the November election. His new term officially begins at noon today.

What The New Sheriff Is Promising

During Saturday’s ceremony Luna promised his department would be guided by three key principles: Integrity, accountability, and collaboration. “If we embrace these three principles, I know we can be in a better place tomorrow than where we are today,” Luna said. “I'm very optimistic about the future of this department.”

A man in a sheriff's uniform stand in front of a podium and holds up his right hand while his left hand is placed on the hands of a Black woman while another white woman reads a document
Robert Luna is sworn in as the 34th Los Angeles Sheriff by the Honorable Samantha Jersey, Presiding Judge-elect of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County.
(Brian Feinzimer
for LAist)
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Luna takes over the Sheriff’s Department after a tumultuous four years of mismanagement by Villanueva. Villanueva was elected four years ago as a reformer but soon started rolling back discipline measures put in place by his predecessor and taking other troubling actions like rehiring a deputy who had been fired after allegations of domestic violence and lying to investigators.

Villanueva fought with other county agencies like the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission, refusing to testify to the latter for its probe into deputy gangs.

In contrast, Luna has pledged to collaborate with all agencies and to eliminate deputy gangs. Luna hails from a traditional law enforcement background but has promised a “180-degree difference” from Villanueva. My colleagues Frank Stoltze and Emily Dugdale have some additional insights here.

At the ceremony this weekend, Luna promised new strategies to address homelessness, repair relationships with the community, and modernize the Sheriff's Department overall. He said:

"We need less polarization and more partnerships and that's the direction we're going to be going. The best way to reduce crime is to work with our community, not against them."

It’s a crucial time for the department, as Frank has reported. The LASD is under investigation by the California Attorney General for alleged civil rights violations, including excessive use of force and those aforementioned deputy gangs.

Frank, in an interview last Friday with our newsroom's All Things Considered afternoon show, which airs on 89.3 KPCC, said that because Luna will likely have better relationships with the supervisors and other county agencies, it could mean more funding and other resources to do his job. One of the biggest challenges will be to earn the trust of the department’s deputies, who mostly supported Villanueva in the election and who don’t like outsiders coming in and “running their department.”

Lastly, and hardly least, Frank said, Luna faces an increasing crime rate, something law enforcement leaders are struggling with across the country.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

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More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

  • A new report finds that Airbnb and VRBO may be out of compliance with the city’s laws on home sharing that were put on the books three years ago. Oversight has been lax
  • Police helicopters swooping overhead have become part of the Los Angeles soundtrack but chopper noise can be anxiety-inducing, to say the least, and they are expensive to operate. Some activists are asking if they are really worth the resources.  
  • As cases of flu and respiratory viruses spike, there’s a shortage of antibiotics and basic cold medicine for kids. Pharmacy workers report that stuff is flying “off the shelves.” 
  • Cowboy culture has long been embraced by Black Californians. I mean, by now, most of you Angelenos must know of the Compton Cowboys. Now mainstream media and popular culture is catching up. (Los Angeles Times)
  • If you have little ones in your life, here’s a few more ideas to add to your gift giving list. LAist’s Early Childcare Reporter Mariana Dale put together a list of good books for kids
  • Tonight you can catch the co-creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Rachel Bloom test out new material at Dynasty Typewriter or on Wednesday watch a double feature of the documentary Sidney and In the Heat of the Night, featuring actor Sidney Poitier. There’s a lot more to do this week, too. Check it out here.

Wait! One More Thing...

The Top Three Tea-Sipping Trends

A man is on a scooter with a woman who has on purple skates.
How To LA podcast host Brian De Los Santos and newsletter writer Aaricka Washington pose for a picture together at the 42nd CicLAvia in South Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 2022.
(Megan Botel
LAist )

THREE —  Baby, Keke Palmer is Having a Baby. 

Actress, singer and TV personality Keke Palmer had the internet ablaze this weekend, when she had an amazing pregnancy reveal as host of Saturday Night Live. This announcement came a day after Vanity Fair published an article and video about Palmer and Angela Bassett’s relationship. Bassett played Palmer’s mother in Akeelah and the Bee in 2004.

TWO — L.A. Comic Con Weekend 

Everyone came decked out in their coolest costumes for L.A. Comic Con. Walter White from Breaking Bad showed up and Wall E and R2-D2even strolled on by to check out the scene. Bonus surprise: MLS Cup Champions LAFC had a booth.

ONE — Even in the rain, Angelenos came out for CicLAvia 

The light drizzle of rain didn’t stop Angelenos from coming out to South L.A. for this open streets party. If you saw a woman with some purple suede skates, that was likely me. How to LA host Brian De Los Santos and I were out there rolling down Central Ave. with all the other folks at the 42nd CicLAvia on Sunday. It was so much fun to participate in this community-building event for the first time. Stay tuned for more coverage this week when we pull together all the great tape we got today for the How to LA podcast!

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