Sheriff Jim McDonnell
Sheriff Jim McDonnell was sworn in as the 32nd Sheriff of Los Angeles County on December 1, 2014. During his more than 36 years in law enforcement, he has promoted youth education and mentorship as essential components to building healthier and safer communities.
Sheriff McDonnell served for 29 years at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), holding every rank from police officer to second-in-command. While at the LAPD, he earned that Department’s highest honor for bravery, the Medal of Valor, and helped to create the blueprint for LAPD’s community-based policing efforts that have now become a model for law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. During that time, he also was an avid supporter of the LAPD’s Police Activities League, a youth crime prevention program that relies on educational and athletic programs to build positive relationships between police and the communities they serve.
As Sheriff, Jim McDonnell is leading the nation’s largest Sheriff’s Department’s efforts in youth mentorship. Sheriff McDonnell is actively involved in the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation, a separate 501c3 non-profit in partnership with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) to provide after-school and summer youth programming at 17 LASD patrol stations. Since 2015, Sheriff McDonnell has also established partnerships with the United States Tennis Association, Pete Brown Junior Tennis Program, and City Lacrosse to offer sports programs in two L.A. County parks and the City of Compton. He also initiated a digital pen pal program with the Compton Unified School District, engaging deputies and third grade students in a semester of emailed letters.
The Sheriff’s department is also involved in numerous non-profit programs that bring department personnel in to contact with tens of thousands of children, ages 6 to 17 years old. However, the Sheriff intends to expand the LASD outreach by consolidating youth programs under its Countywide Operations Division to provide high standards for oversight and accountability for quality mentorship.
Sheriff McDonnell is a Boston native who grew up in a working class neighborhood, a stone’s throw from Fenway Park. He came to Los Angeles over three decades ago with little more than a dream to be part of protecting and serving the public. He was born to immigrant parents who instilled in him the values that have served as the guideposts throughout his life: the importance of education, hard work, integrity, and treating all people with respect. He began his law enforcement career in 1981 as a twenty-two-year-old graduate from the Los Angeles Police Academy.
For five years, Sheriff McDonnell also served as the Chief of the Long Beach Police Department. In that role, he implemented numerous improvements that resulted in safer communities, increased morale, and enhanced community relations.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) provides police services for more than ten million residents throughout a geographic area of 4,751 square miles, roughly the size of Connecticut. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department also maintains the largest jail system in the nation, housing more than 17,000 inmates daily. The Department’s Court Services Division monitors the largest court system in the nation, encompassing 37 Superior Courts.
He is a proven and respected voice in local, state, and national criminal justice organizations, having served as President of the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association, President of the California Peace Officers’ Association, a member of the California Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards & Training (POST), and a board member of the Peace Officers’ Association of Los Angeles County. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Executive Institute and has completed executive education programs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.