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New L.A. County Sheriff Luna Vows To Improve Jail Conditions

Los Angeles County's Robert Luna, the new head of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department, vowed Saturday to usher in an era of integrity and collaboration after his predecessor’s tenure was marked by clashes with other public officials and allegations that ganglike groups of deputies ran amok in his agency, reports the Associated Press. Luna took an oath of office with family at his side. He officially begins his term as the 34th Los Angeles County sheriff next week, after winning election last month by a landslide. The former police chief of Long Beach, Ca., will take charge of an agency with nearly 10,000 sworn deputies after the turbulent single term of Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Luna promised a new direction, saying he would focus on accountability for deputies and cooperation with elected officials. He will be tasked with bringing down rates of violent and property crime that have spiked in the county, the nation’s most populous with 10 million people. Luna said he was elected “with a very clear mandate to bring new leadership.” He said, “We must continue to embrace change. If our streets are unsafe for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, if our homeless crisis causes desperation and misery ... then we will never have public safety.” Luna said he would eliminate what he called “deputy gangs” and improve conditions in jails. “We need to defend good policing,” he said, adding, “It is our responsibility to call out bad policing, and we will do so — that’s an element of keeping the public trust.. Villanueva has said his accomplishments include managing the jail system during the pandemic, addressing homelessness humanely and overhauling the body camera program.


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