In the last months of 2021, the leadership of ALADS and PPOA discussed many times the upcoming Sheriff election and its impacts on our membership. Through these discussions, both organizations decided to work collaboratively to explore the endorsement of a candidate for Los Angeles County Sheriff.
During the last week of December 2021, PPOA and ALADS decided to pursue a Candidates Forum, with the venue and date identified as the Pacific Palms Resort on January 26, 2022. As a part of this process, PPOA created a Sheriff Election Committee made up of PPOA Board members representing bargaining units 612, 614 and 621 employed by the Sheriff’s Department. Each of these Board members was asked to choose another committee member from the current list of PPOA delegates.
The committee’s work will have many facets — first and foremost, to solicit information from the candidates as to their platform, positions, experience and viability of success. This process included PPOA’s participation in the Sheriff Candidates Forum on January 26, as well as recorded interviews of each candidate, all of which is available on the PPOA website.
Members will have the ability to see and listen to the candidates and review key information and recordings of the candidates on the PPOA website, all prior to responding in the upcoming membership survey.
With objectivity in mind, members will benefit from this process with the opportunity to educate themselves on all the candidates. Members will have the ability to see and listen to the candidates and review key information and recordings of the candidates on the PPOA website, all prior to responding in the upcoming membership survey.
The Sheriff Candidates Forum provided members and the community with their first glimpse of the seven candidates interested in being Sheriff of Los Angeles County and requesting the endorsement of ALADS and PPOA (in alphabetical order):
- Retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna
- Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Cecil Rhambo
- Retired LASD Captain Matthew Rodriguez
- LASD Captain Britta Steinbrenner
- LASD Lieutenant Eric Strong
- LASD Commander Eli Vera
- Incumbent Sheriff of Los Angeles County Alex Villanueva
Though it was difficult with seven individuals participating, the forum was structured to provide a level playing field for all candidates to present their positions and platforms in a short-response format. While some may have anticipated a more confrontational event, the format was designed to inform rather than polarize. Candidates were provided with opportunities to educate the audience, as well as establishing their positions on key concerns of the unions. This event is available for viewing on the PPOA website.
The next step, which took place on February 4 and 7, was the candidate interviews. The Sheriff Election Committee utilized these dates to have a more detailed conversation with the candidates and follow up on responses provided at the forum and on endorsement questionnaires, as well as addressing PPOA-specific concerns. These recorded interviews will also be available for viewing on the PPOA website.
Additionally, the Sheriff Election Committee will review countywide polling information, consult with our political subject-matter experts and, of course, consider the results from the survey of the active LASD members. As the endorsement process continues, the Sheriff Election Committee will meet many times to review and discuss all these aspects, determining first whether an endorsement should be given before the primary. If an endorsement is believed to be relevant, the Committee will then analyze all the data, eventually submitting its recommendation to the PPOA Board of Directors.
The final decision regarding any endorsement of a candidate by PPOA lies in the hands of the Board of Directors. These elected representatives will weigh any recommendation by the Sheriff Election Committee with more than 300 years of collective public safety experience to chart the future of the organization.
PPOA thanks all the candidates and their supporters for their desire to lead and their passion for the noble profession of law enforcement, as well as their personal sacrifices to campaign for the office of Sheriff. No matter your personal opinions, these individuals deserve a round of applause for their tireless efforts.
Who will be our Sheriff in 2023?
Only time will tell.