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Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell announces run for LA Sheriff, wins big endorsements

Long Beach Chief of Police Jim McDonnell has announced he is running for Los Angeles County Sheriff.
Long Beach Chief of Police Jim McDonnell has announced he is running for Los Angeles County Sheriff. Long Beach Police Department

Jim McDonnell, who has headed the Long Beach Police Department since 2010 and served  as second in command at the LAPD, announced Monday he is running for Los Angeles County Sheriff.

Embattled Sheriff Lee Baca is retiring at the end of this month. The primary election is in June. 

McDonnell immediately made public an impressive list of supporters, including LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, former L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, and developer Rick Caruso.

Caruso, who built The Grove, has the capacity to help McDonnell raise campaign money. McDonnell has never run for political office.

Just last summer, he ruled out running for sheriff.  

"Fundraising is not something I feel comfortable doing," McDonnell told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. "The position I have now is kind of a dream job."

But with Baca leaving, he changed his mind. In fact, he hired Baca's consultant, SG&A Campaigns, to handle his run for sheriff.

Crime in Long Beach has fallen under McDonnell, but officer-involved shootings in the city are up dramatically. There were nine in 2012, and 22 last year, including three involving animals and four cases where weapons were accidentally fired.

McDonnell joins five other declared candidates in the race: Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers; former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka; former Sheriff's Commander Bob Olmsted; former Sheriff's Lt. Pat Gomez and LAPD Sgt. Lou Vince.

Another possible candidate, LAPD Deputy Chief Terry Hara, announced he will support McDonnell.

McDonnell is also the immediate past president of the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs' Association and served with the Los Angeles Police Department for 29 years, holding every rank in the department up to Chief of Staff.

He also served on the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence, which sharply criticized Baca and the Sheriff's Department for a “persistent pattern of unreasonable force” by deputies against inmates.

In December, a federal grand jury indicted 18 current and former Sheriff's deputies in connection with corruption and civil rights violations at the jails and elsewhere in the department.

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