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Sheriff Robert Luna says things going "extremely well" after his first month in office

Sheriff Robert Luna on his first month in office: "It's going extremely well"
Sheriff Robert Luna on his first month in office: "It's going extremely well" 03:09

After taking office about a month ago, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said that he believes things are going "extremely well" thus far into his term. 

In a sit-down interview with KCAL-News Political Reporter Tom Wait, Luna discussed a number of actions he's taken in his first days as the Sheriff of the nation's largest department — made up of around 18,000 deputies. 

"I did hit the ground sprinting," Luna said. "But you know what? It's going, I believe, extremely well."

He takes over after what many would call a turbulent four years under former Sheriff Alex Villanueva after unseating him in November's General Elections. He says in the weeks since that change was made, there wasn't much of a honeymoon. 

"I'm really happy. People here, not only embrace me, but I think most of the people here were ready for change," he said. 

Some of his first acts of business are mending a series of relationships that were damaged during Villanueva's tenure. 

"it's very well-documented that, at the highest levels here, we weren't getting along with, for example, the Board of Supervisors, County CEO's Office, the Civilian Oversight Commission, the Inspector General, we could go on and on," he said. "The first month, it's been about sitting down with everybody I just named."

Even after a highly-contentious campaign that saw Luna and Villanueva trade blow after blow, Luna maintains that he harbors no resentment for his predecessor. 

"I met with him his last Friday here. We had a very good conversation, a very productive conversation," Luna said. "And he did leave me a letter, which I really appreciated."

While he focuses on moving forward, Sheriff Luna knows there's a lot on his place with persistent crime issues and a homeless crisis with seemingly no end in sight throughout Los Angeles County. He says that staffing his department is key in assessing those issues. 

"We will not make up our needs. It could be alternative responses, but at the end of the day we need to fill positions. We're short in custody, we're short in patrol," he said. "But how we get there will be the difference of how we approach it."

He also knows that his position does not come without controversy, especially with rampant claims of deputy gangs amongst his ranks. 

"I don't deny that it's a challenge. I talk about the gang-issue," Luna said. "Unfortunately, it's very well-documented, some of the challenges that we've had here."

Luna says other priorities to start are possibly restructuring the Men's Central Jail, how to handle unconventional situations when calls are made in regards to the mentally-ill, and the addressing the homeless crisis. 

"Sometimes we put the homeless challenge in one box, a one-size-fits-all. It is so complex, if you take 10 people, you may need five or six different solutions and that means different partners," Luna said. "I keep on talking about partnerships, that's where the different experts come in. That's how we're going to get there."

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