About Sheriff Alex Villanueva

About Alex Villanueva

Alex Villanueva’s mother, Mary Ann was the daughter of Polish immigrants and his father, Victor, was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Alex was born in Chicago, IL but the family moved to Rochester, NY.  Victor and Mary Ann Villanueva moved Alex and his five brothers and sisters to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The family ran a small print shop in a close-knit and safe community.

After graduating from high school in Puerto Rico, Sheriff Alex Villanueva began a long road to earning his college degrees. Along the way, Villanueva joined the military, moved to Los Angeles, CA, became LA Sheriff’s Deputy, served in the Army National Guard, earned his Doctoral Degree, became Adjunct Professor, and eventually became our 33rd Sheriff of LA County.


  • Villanueva earned an associate degree in Liberal Arts from San Bernardino Valley College in 1986.
  • B.A. in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College, University of the State of New York, Regents College.
  • Master of Public Administration from California State University, Northridge.  
  • Doctor of Public Administration from the University of La Verne. Villanueva’s dissertation focused on leadership diversity in law enforcement.


Alex Villanueva is the 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County, and he is the first Spanish-speaking sheriff in the county. In 2018, retired sheriff’s lieutenant Villanueva defeated incumbent Sheriff Jim McDonell, becoming the first to unseat the incumbent in over 100 years. Sheriff Villanueva also became the first Democratic Sheriff in LA County in almost 140 years.

Alex served our communities as a member of the LA Sheriff’s Department for almost 35 years before becoming Sheriff.

Career at LASD:

  • Custody, Century Regional Detention Facility.
  • Patrol Deputy, East LA
  • Drill Instructor at the Sheriff’s Academy Training Bureau
  • California Army National Guard, Lieutenant (2nd Battalion, 144th Field Artillery Regiment, 40th Infantry Division).
  • Sergeant, Lennox and Carson Sheriff Stations, the Community College Bureau, and the Advanced Officer Training unit.
  • Watch Commander at the Pico Rivera Sheriff’s Station.

From 2006-2010 Alex was an Adjunct Professor of criminal justice at California State University, Long Beach.

Sheriff Villanueva is married to retired LA County Sheriff Sergeant Vivian Villanueva.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Los Angeles Sentinel

I was elected because of distrust in a department wrapped in many scandals regarding racial profiling, rising crime, a lack of transparency, and a failure to weed out unethical leadership. All of this was overshadowed by an unpopu­lar collaboration with federal immigration agencies.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva on La Opinion

Fui elegido porque en el departamento habia desconfianza y escandalos con respecto a los perfiles raciales, el aumento de la delincuencia, la falta de transparencia y la incapacidad de eliminar el liderazgo no etico. Todo esto se vio ensombrecido por una colaboraci6n impopular con las agencias federales de inmigracion.


Want to see all the amazing things the Sheriff has done, head over to our Flickr account for access to video and photos of the variety of events and occasions the Sheriff loves to share with the public.


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