Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Robert Luna promises change, announces transition team in 1st address as sheriff-elect of LA County

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EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Robert Luna vowed to keep the promises he made during his first campaign address as Los Angeles County Sheriff-elect.

Luna delivered his address Friday afternoon at East LA’s Ruben Salazar Park, which is named for the sheriff’s deputy who was killed during a 1970 protest march against the Vietnam War.

A mural painted next to a park building depicts a popular uprising despite police aggression. Luna stood before it, and as he returned to the neighborhood where he grew up, he promised change.

“Somewhere down the line, I felt like if I was going to see the change, I had to be a part of that change,” said Luna, whose term is scheduled to begin December 5.

With a 20-point lead and more than a million votes in his favor over Acting Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Luna’s pitch has turned into a promise.

“One, fight crime,” Luna said while listing his priorities. “Repair ties with our community and across the board, address homelessness, modernize the department and improve staff well-being. I discussed a lot of this during the campaign.”

Enforcing what he spoke about will be another task in a department accused of maintaining surrogate gangs, overcrowding prisons, fighting with other county leaders and dodging questions from the Civilian Oversight Commission, whose sole purpose is to keep the department to be held accountable.

Current Sheriff Villanueva is due to appear in court on November 21 for failing to testify.

When asked if Luna would be willing to testify under oath before the Oversight Commission regardless of what a judge decides, he said yes.

“I have said from the beginning that as your sheriff, I will cooperate with civilian oversight and comply with subpoenas,” Luna said. “Public safety is about public trust.”

And that is exactly what he is asking for at the beginning of his term. Luna’s transition team consists of three people: current Huntington Beach Police Commissioner Eric Parra, Vice President of the Los Angeles Police Commission Eileen Decker, and Richard Conant, who retired as deputy chief of the Long Beach Police Department in 2019 after he had served under Luna.

Luna successfully ran a campaign with the idea that people in LA County want change. The people have voted, and the ability to change will soon be tested with the largest detachment of sheriff’s deputies in the country.

ABC7 asked how he plans to get MPs on board with changes if they are indeed drastic.

“For me, it’s a leadership issue. A leadership challenge, I should say. And for me, when I come in, just like I would any of you, you come in with your expectations, but you also come in with the perspective that you’re going to be listening,” Luna said.

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