BURBANK–On Thursday, October 9 the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region and Woodbury University’s Center for Leadership proudly co-hosted a reception meet and greet followed by a town hall meeting with Long Beach Police Chief and current candidate for Los Angeles County Sheriff, Jim McDonnell at the University’s campus.
During the intimate meet and greet reception, attendees became acquainted with Chief McDonnell, asking questions about his campaign and goals for the Sheriff’s Department. All the while, the ANCA-WR HyeVotes volunteers were registering residents to vote and disseminating information about voting deadlines and rights for the November 4th General Election.
After the reception, ANCA Western Region Advisory Board Member Levon Kirakosian took stage and introduced the work of the ANCA WR and its Hye Votes voter registration and Get-Out-the-Vote initiative to attendees as he encouraged the crowd to use the power of their vote on November 4th. The town hall meeting was emceed by President of the Masters of Leadership Association at Woodbury University Scott Rate, who asked a series of questions to Chief McDonnell on such topic matters as the pervasive problem with excessive use of force within the LA County jails, the department’s pattern and practice of discriminatory and biased policing, which include use of excessive force, search and seizure, as well as, balancing the need to reduce the jail population with quality of life issues for the communities, and the implementation of new recruitment and hiring practices within the Sheriff’s department that would result in a department that is reflective of the diverse communities within Los Angeles County.
In his remarks, Chief McDonnell praised the importance of the ANCA-WR’s Hye Votes voter registration and get-out-the vote efforts and further noted, “I can’t emphasize how important it is to go out there and vote. It is a privilege that we have as Americans; it is something that we do not use enough”.
Among the topics discussed was a possible civilian oversight committee within the Sheriff’s Department. With the recent public outcry on how the department has been handled in recent years, Sheriff McDonnell acknowledged that civilian oversight would aid the department in flagging errors their own audits may have missed.
“It is clear from Chief McDonnell’s responses that he is ready and willing to work hand-in-hand with the community in improving the operations of the department,” remarked ANCA-WR Government Affairs Director, Tereza Yerimyan. “This is a key opportunity for the Armenian-American community to be engaged with their local Sheriff’s Department and provide their input on public safety issues that truly affect their daily lives,” she continued.
On September 5, ANCA-WR announced its endorsement of Jim McDonnell for Los Angeles County Sheriff, calling on the community to vote for him at the ballot box on November 4th. The announcement came after a thorough interview process, which included discussion on such topic matters as sensitivity training for employees and officers, educational and outreach programs, and the critical role of the Sheriff in building bridges and establishing a collaborative relationship with the Armenian-American community. McDonnell’s grasp of significant Armenian American issues was evident through his sincere devotion to making the Armenian American community an equal community partner of the department.
Jim McDonnell has served as Chief of Police for the city of Long Beach, the second largest city in Los Angeles County, since March, 2010. He previously served as the second in command in the Los Angeles Police Department. McDonnell began his law enforcement career in 1981 and has served over three decades for the Los Angeles Police Department, having held every rank in the LAPD. As an expert on community policing strategies, Jim McDonnell has employed his experience collaborating with community leaders in the many diverse neighborhoods across Los Angeles County to enhance community relations and promote safe neighborhoods. McDonnell’s community policing plan was the foundation of Chief Bill Bratton’s efforts to refocus and reform the LAPD.
Chief McDonnell finished first against seven other candidates in the Sheriff’s race during the June 2nd Primary Elections. He is currently in the runoff against one candidate for the November 4, 2014 General Election.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.