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Opinion

Readers React: Why not require county sheriffs to have been police chiefs? Villanueva wasn’t one

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, addresses the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission on March 26.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Responding to the situation with Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and what to do about it, one letter writer noted that the “only requirement to be elected sheriff in any of California’s 58 counties is to have been a peace officer.”

Since any major change to the system of electing sheriffs in California would require that the state Constitution be amended, and since elections would be very hard to eliminate completely, how about just a small but significant amendment?

Wouldn’t it make sense if voters required that any candidate for county sheriff in California to at least have been a chief of police somewhere? The L.A. County sheriff before our current one was such a person.

Police chiefs have undergone a selection process that included determining his or her qualifications, and candidates for sheriff would probably be expected to demonstrate their competence in such a position. Such a requirement might actually have a chance of passing.

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Joe Bonino, Glendale

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