Los Angeles County Sheriff-elect Robert Luna was ceremonially sworn into office on Saturday.
The 34th person to hold the position, Luna will officially replace outgoing Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whom he defeated in the November election, at noon on Monday.
Luna, the 56-year-old former chief of police for Long Beach, has vowed to bring new leadership and accountability to a department that has faced criticism in recent years for alleged uses of excessive force and for reported deputy gangs.
On Saturday, he made clear he will work to eliminate the deputy gangs and improve conditions in jails while also working to “defend good policing.”
“To do that, it’s our responsibility to call out bad policing, and we will do so,” he said.
Additionally, he expressed support for improved mental health services for officers and other LASD employees who have suffered trauma or undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It makes a big difference in how we treat each other and how, in turn, we treat the community,” he said.
Luna reiterated some of his campaign promises, including to repair strained relationships between the department and other governmental entities. Though Villanueva was not criticized by name, many of Luna’s promises and statements obliquely referenced his predecessor, who frequently clashed with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.
“We will view elected and government officials as partners and not adversaries. We will be cooperating with oversight and understand there needs to be a healthy skepticism of law enforcement … because none of us, including myself, are above criticism,” he said.
The new sheriff’s leadership team had come into focus over the past few days, with 28-year veteran April Tardy announced as the new interim undersheriff — the first woman to hold the position — and Deputy Jason Skeen, another 28-year veteran, serving as interim chief of staff.
Luna said the voters have given him a “very clear mandate” that they want new leadership and more accountability.
“My goal has been to listen and learn from the people in this county, and I have,” he said.
Luna and Villanueva met earlier this week, and Villanueva tweeted a photo of the “peaceful transfer of power,” adding, “I truly wish him the best in leading the greatest law enforcement agency on the planet.”