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Rhambo Endorsed by Former L.A. County Public Defender
By Sentinel New Service
Published November 25, 2021

LAX Police Chief Earns backing of Ron Brown in bid for L.A. County Sheriff

LAX Police Chief Cecil Rhambo is running for L.A. County Sheriff. (Courtesy photo)

In another reflection of his support from criminal justice reformers, LAX Police Chief Cecil Rhambo  has been endorsed by former Los Angeles County Public Defender Ron Brown.

The first Black person to hold the public defender post, Brown led the L.A. County Public Defender’s Office for five years, managing over 700 defense attorneys.

In a statement released with his endorsement, Brown commented: “I’m excited to endorse my friend, Chief Cecil Rhambo, for L.A. County Sheriff. As someone who worked directly with him on the L.A. County prison realignment process a decade ago, I know that Chief Rhambo is committed to making our criminal justice system more compassionate and transparent and protecting the rights of the accused.

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“He’s the best candidate to both take down Alex Villanueva and enact meaningful long-term change to the Sheriff’s Department, and I’m proud to endorse him.”

The endorsement comes on the heels of Rhambo’s campaign releasing a new online ad titled, “Stop This Injustice,” which draws a contrast between Rhambo  and Sheriff Villanueva, highlighting the incumbent’s refusal to stop deputy gangs, secret police and corruption, along with his war against the county’s vaccine mandate, the Inspector General as well as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Also, the campaign recently released an explosive video, titled “Reckless,” which spotlights Villanueva’s interview with Tucker Carlson on the FOX News Channel. The network is notable for continuing to give a platform to those who question vaccines, the results of the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Rhambo is a longtime public servant and public safety officer who currently serves as the Chief of Airport Police at LAX. Rhambo was raised in Compton and South Los Angeles after being adopted from Korea as an infant, graduating from Washington High School. Following college, Rhambo started his 33-year career in law enforcement, where he quickly moved up the ranks.

As a sergeant, Rhambo was assigned to the Internal Affairs Bureau where he assisted in the formation of the Shooting and Force Response Team in the wake of the Rodney King beating. It was the first time that the Sheriff’s Department used the Internal Affairs Bureau to extensively review reports of excessive force, including creating a database where the misconduct records of officers would be tracked as an “early warning” system.
As a lieutenant in Internal Affairs Bureau, Rhambo led the Shooting and Force Response Teams and was later directed to head the Asian Crime Task Force, where he commanded a group of investigators and multilingual deputies to investigate crimes in L.A. County committed against Asians or by Asians, focusing on community outreach.

In 2000, after the city of Compton voted to disband its police department, Rhambo was assigned as captain of Compton Sheriff’s Patrol, returning to the community he was from.  During his three years in this role, Rhambo heavily focused on community policing in the worst-hit areas of the city, which resulted in a dramatic reduction in crime, gang activity, and traffic fatalities along with establishing their first youth boxing and recreation center and paving the way for the first Starbucks.

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After leaving the city of Compton, Rhambo was asked to re-start the Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Bureau, which focused on suppressing violent crime, combatting homelessness, parking enforcement, quality of life programs, youth programs, the mental health response teams that partnered a deputy with psych clinicians county-wide, and the Crisis or Hostage Negotiations Team which responds to high-level crisis events like SWAT responses or suicidal barricades.

While commanding the COPS Bureau, Rhambo designed the basic model that’s used to address homeless people to this day by the Sheriff’s Department, relying on a “soft approach” of deputies dressed in soft uniforms partnering with outreach workers and various governmental departments to make contact with the chronically homeless, offer them bridge and supportive housing and connect them with services, including dental offices, showers, clothing, food, and partnering with the Public Defender’s Office to expunge minor offenses.

Later, when the Sheriff’s Department came under fire from the ACLU and the FBI for prisoner abuse, Rhambo took on his boss, then-Sheriff Lee Baca, and other people in leadership. Rhambo urged Baca to fully comply with the FBI, but was ignored.  Rhambo eventually testified against the LASD’s corruption, resulting in the imprisonment of Baca and 11 deputies.

As chief of Airport Police, Rhambo leads the nation’s largest dedicated airport public safety force. Rhambo also served as Compton city manager from 2017 through July 2019 and Carson assistant city manager from 2014 to 2017.

Categories: News | Political
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