Long Beach Police Chief Joins LA County Sheriff's Race

Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna has announced his candidacy for Los Angeles County sheriff. He joins seven other people challenging the controversial Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Los Angeles’ last sheriff, Jim McDonnell, was also a Long Beach police chief. Luna became the city’s first Latino chief after McDonnell left to head LASD. He was raised in East Los Angeles and has spent 35 years in law enforcement.

“We can absolutely do better than what this current sheriff is doing in office,” Luna told the Los Angeles Times. “He’s dysfunctional, and when I say he’s dysfunctional, you cannot have somebody who doesn’t have good relationships with the community, with the media, with other ... elected and government officials and have good public safety.”

At a press conference, Luna promised to root out problem deputies and fire those who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine. He also vowed to comply with subpoenas from the Civilian Oversight Commission – something Sheriff Villanueva has refused to do.

“That is just outrageous to me that somebody who’s accountable to this entire community can say, ‘I’m not going to go testify before any type of community board or anybody who is talking about accountability in law enforcement,’” said Luna.

Luna’s candidacy announcement was met with swift opposition from Black Lives Matter, which has criticized his handling of policing matters in Long Beach. Protesters showed up at his press conference and interrupted the chief several times. They held signs that said “Luna failed LB.”

The election for LA Sheriff will be held in June. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, it heads to a runoff.