Happy new year! Looking back at 2022, I realize all the great things the PPOA Board of Directors accomplished and the many members we assisted when needed. I have worked on unique assignments throughout my 25-year career at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Serving as your president is at the top of the list as the most challenging but overwhelmingly rewarding assignment. My time as the president has been invaluable and has given me a deep dive into the true meaning of the importance of collaboration. I respect and admire my sworn and professional staff partners, as I honorably served as a Custody Assistant in 1999 for two years. I understand the uniqueness of each classification, and the importance to the Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office and Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office.
Sheriff Robert Luna overwhelmingly defeated incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva and became the 34th Los Angeles County Sheriff. During his first news conference as Sheriff, he outlined his plan for LASD and set the groundwork to foster a collaborative work environment with the rest of the County government. He stated, “Integrity is about treating people with respect and living up to the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics. Accountability is not something to be feared but rather embraced, as it is the cornerstone of any successful law enforcement agency. All of us, starting with me, will be accountable to the people we serve. And collaboration is the best way to reduce crime and to work with our community in partnership.”
Although some thought history would repeat itself and anticipated rapid movements and/or removal of positions (forced retirements), Sheriff Luna brought a sense of fairness and calmness. His transition team conducted interviews, resulting in April Tardy as the interim Undersheriff. As a result, April Tardy is the first female Undersheriff in the Department’s history. Additionally, Chief Sergio Aloma was named the interim Assistant Sheriff overseeing Custody Division, and Commander Jason Skeen will serve as the Chief of Staff. Finally, Jill Torres (formerly Serrano) returned as the Assistant Sheriff and will lead in managing the Department’s current budget situation.
I am looking forward to 2023, which already looks promising. On December 22, 18 days after Sheriff Luna took office, I was joined by First Vice President Jay Chapman and Second Vice President Tony Coleman for a meeting with Sheriff Luna. The meet-and-greet was a grand gesture from Sheriff Luna that he is willing to listen to and discuss the many concerns affecting PPOA members. A few topics discussed were recruitment and retention, one of the many issues he inherited affecting personnel morale. Other subjects included:
- Fair promotional process (primarily for sergeants and lieutenants)
- Station jails
- Ensuring personnel have the proper training and equipment to fulfill their duties safely
Lastly, Sheriff Luna, who brings 36 years of law enforcement experience and rose through the ranks serving as chief for the Long Beach Police Department, expressed his knowledge of the importance of collaborating with PPOA. This action will be a pivot change for the Department, as PPOA filed 10 unfair labor practice (ULP) charges against the LASD during his predecessor’s term. I wish Sheriff Luna success and look forward to collaboration to ensure all members receive the proper support for successful careers.
Congratulations, Captain Nuñez
On December 7, I was honored to present retired Captain Joseph B. Nuñez with a PPOA plaque for his 41 years of service to LASD. Retired Captain Nuñez began his career with the LASD as an “off-the-streeter” in 1981. He graduated from Academy Class #206 and was assigned to Biscailuz Center. In 1983 he transferred to Temple Station and, after five years, was assigned to Narcotics Bureau and Training Bureau as a drill instructor and executive staff instructor assigned to the Explorer Academy (classes #44–51). As a graduate of Explorer #49, I was one of many young adults to be mentored by retired Captain Nuñez. He showed us the importance of respect, dedication and education, and instilled comprehensive character development.
Retired Captain Nuñez was promoted to Sergeant in 1996 and worked at Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Walnut, San Dimas and Century stations. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2000 and worked at Pico Rivera Station, Court Services East/West bureaus and Narcotics. In 2011, he was promoted to Captain and was assigned to Internal Affairs Bureau. He then transferred to Transportation Bureau, Century Regional Detention Facility, Custody Special Projects, Crime Information Management Bureau, Cerritos Station and Scientific Services Bureau.
PPOA would like to congratulate retired Captain Nuñez for his distinguished service to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and wish him the best health, happiness and success on his new journey.