After spending over three decades with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Alex Villanueva has become a unique leader within Los Angeles law enforcement. Distinguishing himself early on as a straight shooter who speaks truth to power, Alex is a tireless advocate not only the for hard-working men and women who wear tan and green, but for the community as a whole. He figured out early on that keeping any community safe requires listening and learning from both the deputies and those people you are sworn to serve.
Alex burned the midnight oil earning a Doctorate in Public Administration by studying the impact of diversity on law enforcement leadership, all while serving full-time on patrol within the Sheriff’s Department. During his research, Alex uncovered the corruption within the Department under Sheriff Baca and Undersheriff Tanaka and became one of the first to call them out to put an end to their criminal wrongdoing. He was swiftly retaliated against: both Alex and his wife Vivian, also a Deputy, were systematically shunned by managers and leaders throughout the Department, but Alex never lost sight of his commitment to serve the community; his dedication to public service remained unwavering. Under false pretenses, Alex was given two suspensions and was denied promotion because he spoke out, but he never stepped off until Baca and Tanaka were behind bars.
As an experienced military veteran, Alex became well-versed in leadership serving our country in the United States Air Force and the California Army National Guard. Alex used those leadership skills along with his strong morals and ethics when, as a young deputy, he was thrown out of a commander’s office for advocating a ban on smoking within jail facilities. Alex prevailed and the ban won overwhelming support throughout the Department, saving the county millions of dollars in the process. As a union organizer, Alex fought for both transparency and ethical representation, the catalyst for many reforms within the employee organizations representing Los Angeles Sheriff members and employees to this day.
With former Sheriff Baca and his undersheriff Tanaka in prison, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is in desperate need of real reform. While Sheriff McDonnell not only failed to reform the department, he also put some of Baca and Tanaka’s cronies in positions of power. Alex Villanueva plans to rebuild the Department from the ground up, reforming the organization around the principles of community policing and ethical standards of conduct. Alex’s experience within the Sheriff’s Department, the military, and education all point to a transformative leader who can reform the Department, raise employee morale, improve relationships with the community, and turn Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department into the success we know it can be.
Alex Villanueva is exactly the person Los Angeles County needs as our sheriff. A lifelong Democrat, Alex lives in La Habra Heights with his wife Vivian and yellow lab Alvin. He has one son, Jared, an army veteran who served in Iraq, and two lovely granddaughters, Christy and Sofia.