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Feature Stories

Police Chief Jim McDonnell Ponders Run for Sheriff

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 3

By Steve Propes

Though hardly an official announcement, a February 5 article in the L.A. Times quoted Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell as considering a run for the office of Los Angeles County Sheriff, an office currently held by Lee Baca.

In an interview one day later, McDonnell clarified he is still mulling over the decision. “You look at the process of running for county office; it’s time consuming, it’s expensive running for office, there are family considerations. It is one of the premier jobs in law enforcement and the department has been in very tough situations.”

Asked if he had ever run in any political environment, McDonnell said “No. At the end of the day, I’m a career cop, I’ll finish out my days as that.”

McDonnell stated that before the article was printed, “I had heard rumors” about his own plans. Before and after the article came out, McDonnell said, “I’ve had a lot of calls from people” offering to work or consult with such a campaign. “I’m taking a look at all of them.” McDonnell stated that he began considering a run “probably toward the end of 2012.” Asked if he has heard from Baca, McDonnell answered, “No.” Describing his relationship with Baca, McDonnell said, “I would consider him a friend. We haven’t discussed it at all.”

“It would be a great job in law enforcement. It’s one of the premier jobs.” Still, it would mean leaving his job with the city. “We have a great team here, I’m in a great job right now; it’s very hard to leave this job to go anywhere. But in the sheriff role is an ability to do a lot for the people and officers of Long Beach, which is a model for the rest of the country for agencies working with each other; even the feds comment on that. People commit crimes serially and across borders.”