Photo by Brian Addison.
Long Beach formally welcomed its 26th Chief of Police at the swearing-in ceremony of Robert Luna this past Saturday in the lobby of the Long Beach Arena.
Surrounded by dignitaries and leaders, Luna marks the city’s first Latino police chief as well as the man replacing LA County Sheriff-elect Jim McDonnell, who will be sworn in as sheriff on December 1. Luna, whose last post was serving as deputy chief in charge of patrol since 2006, was a contender for the chief spot in 2010 when the city hired McDonnell.
McDonnell, passing on the torch, had nothing but praise for Luna.
“As I’ve said before, many members of the community will deal with the LBPD on some of the worst days of their lives,” said McDonnell. “The police department must be able to help people under such dire circumstances and I cannot think of a better or more qualified person to lead the LBPD in this very important role than Robert Luna.”
City Manager Patrick West, who appointed Luna to the position on November 11, echoed the sentiments of McDonnell, noting highlights in Luna’s long 29-year relationship with the LBPD. A resume that is “pages long,” West noted Luna’s leadership in numerous efforts at the department aimed at building positive relationships between the LBPD and the local community, managing staffing reductions and overseeing changes during vast budget cuts, and decreasing crime.
Describing his new role as both exciting and “a bit overwhelming,” Luna seemed to exude the type of police chief many claim he will be: personable, affable and down-to-earth. Inspired by fictional characters like Batman but moving onto more realistic interpretations of crime fighting such as Adam-12, Luna talked about his love for policing and investigation. The childhood links of camaraderie and family reminded him that no job is ever achieved alone.
“Success is never marked by one person’s accomplishments but by the people around you, the people who helped you out,” Luna said.
Luna went onto “brag,” in his words, about those very people: his mother and siblings, his family—wife Celines, son Asher, and stepdaughter Cesie, all in attendance—and, perhaps most poignant, his fellow officers.
“I want to tell you I love every single one of you and I’ll do my very best to represent every one of you,” Luna said.
Luna was flanked by retired LBPD Sgt. Abel Dominguez and his wife.
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