The Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) has announced their support for retired sheriff’s Lieutenant Alex Villanueva’s bid for Los Angeles County Sheriff in the November elections, saying he embodies the “essential characteristics and values required to lead the department.”
In the City of Pasadena, Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs secure all county facilities and property, including Metro trains and stations on the Gold Line, and Metro buses.
To the north in Altadena, the deputies provide are the primary law enforcement policing agency.
A statement by Ron Hernandez, President of ALADS, said the decision to endorse Villanueva comes after “serious deliberation” by the group’s board of directors, as well as conversations with rank-and-file deputies they represent as a union.
“It is our firm belief that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is in need of transformation, and that Villanueva is best suited to lead that change given his background, skills, and character,” Hernandez said.
Villanueva forced incumbent LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell into a runoff in the June 5 primary by winning 33 percent of the vote, his support mostly rooted in predominantly Latino areas in the county, a Los Angeles Times report said. McDonnell got 48 percent, a few points shy of the simple majority he needed to avoid a runoff.
A month before the June primary, the ALADS announced a vote of no-confidence for McDonnell after a survey of about 1,423 of their members resulted in only 34 votes for the current county sheriff. ALADS represents more than 7,900 deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators working in Los Angeles County.
“The underlying sentiments which drove responses should certainly be of concern to Sheriff McDonnell,” ALADS said in a statement after the survey. “In particular, the Sheriff should take note that this vote represents a loss of confidence in him by a significant number of his deputies.”
McDonnell was elected in 2014 in the wake of several scandals involving abuse of jail inmates and corruption attributed to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD). He had served in an investigating commission that looked at the alleged scandals and later criticized LASD for allowing the existence of exclusive cliques within the ranks of deputies.
The issues were again mentioned when McDonnell and Villanueva debated in July about immigration enforcement, experience, and tattoos that deputies belonging to the exclusive cliques wear.
Villanueva retired in February after over three decades as a deputy. He has also served in the U.S. Air Force and the California Army National Guard, and has a Doctorate in Public Administration.