Bio – Sheriff Alex Villanueva
Sheriff Alex Villanueva is the 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County and a 33-year veteran of the Department. Sheriff Villanueva commands the largest Sheriff’s Department in the United States, consisting of nearly 18,000 budgeted sworn and professional staff. His drive and promise to “Reform, Rebuild, Restore” led him to overcome long odds and be the first candidate to defeat an incumbent sheriff in more than 100 years. As Sheriff, he initiated reform efforts that are improving morale within the Department, as well as, rebuilding trust within the communities which the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) serves.
Sheriff Villanueva was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Rochester, New York, and Puerto Rico. He proudly served our country, enlisting in the United States Air Force in 1983. In 1984, he transferred to the California Air National Guard and achieved the rank of sergeant. In 1985, he then transferred to the California Army National Guard and completed Officer Candidates School (OCS) in 1988, where he honorably served as a lieutenant with the 40th Infantry Division for the next seven years.
Sheriff Villanueva began his law enforcement career in 1986, as a line deputy at the Inmate Reception Center (IRC). During his first years on the job, Sheriff Villanueva led the initiative to ban smoking in all custody facilities, a move that improved working conditions for both staff and inmates alike. After four years at IRC, he transferred to East Los Angeles Station (ELA) where he undertook patrol training. During his seven years at ELA Station, Sheriff Villanueva worked as a patrol deputy, field training officer, and was part of the first community policing team assigned to the Maravilla Housing Development. In 1997, Sheriff Villanueva transferred to the Department’s Training Bureau, where he worked as an Academy Staff Instructor training newly hired deputy sheriff trainees to become fully-trained deputy sheriffs.
In 2000, Sheriff Villanueva was promoted to the rank of sergeant and assigned to Lennox Station, now called South Los Angeles Station (SLA). Sheriff Villanueva worked as a field sergeant and watch commander at Lennox Station, Carson Station, and the Community College Bureau until he returned to Training Bureau in 2007, where he was assigned to the Advanced Officer Training Unit as a team sergeant and then as the Training Bureau’s Operations Sergeant.
In 2011, Sheriff Villanueva was promoted to the rank of lieutenant assigned to Century Regional Detention Center (CRDF) as a watch commander. In 2014, he transferred to Pico Rivera Sheriff’s Station, where he worked as a watch commander before retiring in 2018.
While working assignments in patrol, Sheriff Villanueva earned his Bachelor in Liberal Studies from the University of the State of New York, his Master’s Degree from California State University, Northridge, and ultimately his Doctorate from the University of La Verne, both in Public Administration. Sheriff Villanueva has been married for 22 years to his wife Vivian and has an adult son, Jared, who is a veteran of the United States Army and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sheriff Villanueva has two granddaughters, Chrissy and Sophia.