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Long Beach Police Chief Announces Run For LA County Sheriff

LONG BEACH ( — Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell announced Monday that he will run for Long Angeles County sheriff.

McDonnell has headed the Long Beach Police Department since 2010. Before that, he worked with the Los Angeles Police Department for 29 years, where he ultimately served as second in command.

McDonnell also served on the Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence, an independent blue ribbon panel that investigated the Los Angeles County jail system.

McDonnell told KCAL9's Dave Bryan that making the decision to run was tough because of what he'll have to do to get the position.

"This is all new to me. I'm a police officer, I have been for my whole adult life. In looking to get into something…the job of the sheriff…is something that I'd be honored to serve in that capacity. The process to get there is something that's uncomfortable for me…asking people for money, which you have to do in order to be successful," he said.

McDonnell, who had previously declined to run for sheriff, said things took an unexpected and dramatic turn last week when Sheriff Lee Baca announced he will retire at the end of January.

"I was looking at it before he dropped out, but the sheriff stepping aside and deciding he would retire, it changed the dynamic of facing an incumbent and what goes along with that," he said.

McDonnell said fixing what's wrong with the sheriff's department will be issue number one.

"I think some fresh eyes…someone like myself who comes in from the outside, who doesn't have long-term alliances within the department, isn't part of the culture of the organization where you tend to see things a certain way because it's what you know," he said.

McDonnell has already listed 20 endorsements from prominent Southern California leaders, such as District Attorney Jackie Lacey and her predecessor, Steve Cooley, Supervisor Don Knabe, and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

Meantime, other potential candidates to replace Baca include assistant sheriff's Todd Rogers and James Hellmold, former Cmdr. Bob Olmsted, former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, and LAPD Deputy Chief Terry Hara.

The primary election is scheduled for June 3.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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