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Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna announced Wednesday he is entering the race to become Los Angeles County sheriff.

“We can absolutely do better than what this current sheriff is doing in office,” Luna told The Times on Tuesday, referring to Sheriff Alex Villanueva. “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.”

In an interview and during his first public remarks at a press conference to announce his candidacy, Luna staked out positions opposing Villanueva on a number of issues. If elected next year, he said he would fire deputies who refuse to adhere to the county’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, agree to testify under oath in compliance with subpoenas issued by oversight officials and do more to root out gang-like groups of deputies in the Sheriff’s Department.

“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,’” Luna said in a reference to Villanueva’s repeated refusal to honor subpoenas issued by the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission.

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