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

Saturday, November 19, 2022
Sheriff-elect Luna promises change, announces transition team
Robert Luna vowed to uphold the promises he made on the campaign trail during his first address as sheriff-elect of Los Angeles County.

EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Robert Luna vowed to uphold the promises he made on the campaign trail during his first address as sheriff-elect of Los Angeles County.

Luna made his address Friday afternoon at East L.A.'s Ruben Salazar Park, which is named after the man sheriff's deputies killed in 1970 during a march protesting the Vietnam War.

A mural painted alongside a park building shows an uprising of people despite police aggression. Luna stood in front of it, and as a homecoming to the neighborhood where he grew up, he promised change.

"Somewhere along the line, I felt that if I wanted to see the change, that I needed to become part of that change," said Luna, whose term is scheduled to start Dec. 5.

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

"One, fight crime," Luna said, while listing his priorities. "Repair relationships with our community and across the board, address homelessness, modernize the department and improve employee wellness. A lot of this is what I talked about during the campaign."

Following through with what he talked about will be another task entirely in a department accused of perpetuating deputy gangs, overcrowding jails, fighting with fellow county leadership and dodging questions from the Civilian Oversight Commission, whose sole purpose is to hold the department accountable.

Current Sheriff Villanueva is due in court Nov. 21 because of his refusal to testify.

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

"From the very beginning, I said that as your sheriff, I will cooperate with civilian oversight, I will comply with subpoenas," said Luna. "Public safety is about public trust."

And he is asking for just that as he plans to start his term. Luna's transition team consists of three people: current Huntington Beach Police Chief 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, having served under Luna.

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

ABC7 asked how he plans to get deputies on board with changes, if they are in fact drastic.

"For me it's a leadership issue. A leadership challenge, I should say. And for me coming in, just like I would do with any of you, you come in with your expectations but you also come in with the perspective that you're going to listen," said Luna.