Date: 12-05-2022 1:26 AM - Word Count: 786

   Robert Luna to Officially Assume LA County Sheriff's Duties
   Eds: Sheriff's Deputy Grace Medrano can be reached at 213-505-1780.
Sgt. Bob Boese of the Sheriff's Information Bureau can be reached at 323-422-
   LOS ANGELES (CNS) - After the formality of a weekend swearing-in
ceremony, Robert Luna today officially assumes his duties as the 34th sheriff
of Los Angeles County.
   The former Long Beach Police chief took the oath of office on Saturday
morning during a ceremony at the county Hall of Administration in downtown
L.A. -- his wife Celines pinning the gold star on his crisp new tan-and-green
uniform while their two adult children stood nearby.
   Monday at noon -- following a hard-fought campaign that led to the
ouster of incumbent Alex Villanueva -- Luna officially takes command of the
nation's largest sheriff's department, with more than 18,000 sworn personnel.
   ``Today I stand before you wearing this brand-new uniform -- and now I
have a badge to go with it -- with an incredible amount of respect, because
it's the same uniform worn by those deputies who patrolled the neighborhood
where I grew up,'' Luna said Saturday, referring to his East L.A. roots.
   Saturday's ceremony was also attended by current and former city and
police officials from Long Beach, and by L.A. County officials, including four
of the five county supervisors.
   Luna promised to be open to different approaches to tackle what he
acknowledged was a rising tide of crime in the county.
   ``There can be no sacred cows,'' Luna said.
   He said the sheriff's department has succeeded over the years
``because it has never been afraid to innovate. ... So we must look at policies
and strategies that have succeeded in other places and not be afraid to bring
them here.''
   Luna also implored the public to defend ``good policing,'' while at
the same time recognizing the need to hold law enforcement accountable.
   ``But even as we make mistakes, we can and we must keep the public
trust,'' he said.
   The new sheriff said he will focus on three overriding principles:
   -- Integrity. ``It's about living up to the law enforcement code of
ethics, doing the right thing even when no one is looking.''
   -- Accountability. ``If crime goes, up, that's on us. ... We owe you,
the community, a plan to reduce crime.''
   And, in a veiled shot at Villanueva -- who was frequently assailed by
Luna and other elected officials over his contentious relationship with the
county Board of Supervisors:
   -- Collaboration. ``We will fail if we take an `us versus them'
attitude,'' Luna said. ``We cannot do that. We need less polarization and more
partnerships, and we will do that.
   ``We are going to fix problems, not affix blame.''
   Luna also mentioned the need to eliminate deputy gangs and improve
conditions in jails. During the campaign, he accused Villanueva of ignoring the
issue of deputy gangs, and of cultivating a hostile relationship with the
   Before Luna was sworn in, outgoing Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who
was elected to Congress earlier this month, spoke on behalf of his longtime
colleague -- praising his handling of civil unrest that followed the killing of
George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020. Garcia also praised
Luna's character.
   ``Robert's core values are rooted in collaboration, in strength, and
in kindness,'' Garcia said. ``... Luna is going to be one of the kindest people
you'll ever meet.''
   Holly Mitchell, the only county supervisor who did not attend the
ceremony, later tweeted her congratulations.
   ``Welcome, Sheriff Robert Luna! I look forward to your leadership and
commitment to restoring public trust in the Sheriff's Department. Our
communities deserve accountability and transparency, which can only be achieved
by working together,'' Mitchell wrote.
   Luna spent 36 years with the Long Beach Police Department, becoming
chief in 2014. He has a master's degree in public administration from Cal State
Long Beach.
   His victory in the Nov. 8 election marked only the second time in
roughly a century that an incumbent L.A. County sheriff lost a re-election bid.
The first time occurred four years ago, when Villanueva defeated then-Sheriff
Jim McDonnell.
   Luna last week announced the appointment of April Tardy, chief of the
sheriff's department's Central Patrol Division, as his interim undersheriff,
making her the first woman to hold that position in the agency's history.
   He also named Jason Skeen, currently the commander of Personnel
Command, as his interim chief of staff. Tardy and Skeen are both 28-year
department veterans.
   Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

CNS-12-05-2022 01:26