LA County Sheriff Robert Luna Starts His Term Today
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.”
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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.
(After you stop hitting snooze)
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Wait! One More Thing...
The Top Three Tea-Sipping Trends
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!