County Supervisors Vote To Explore Options for Removing Sheriff

Sheriff Alex Villanueva addresses the audience at Duke's in 2018.

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s tempestuous relationship with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is coming to a boil: the five-member board voted, 3-2, on Tuesday, Nov. 10, to direct its lawyers to explore ways the embattled sheriff could be removed from office. 

An elected official, Villanueva is the county’s top law enforcement official; he oversees the LA County Sheriff’s Department, which includes the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station. Members of the board of supervisors, specifically Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl, who represents Malibu, have for two years criticized Villanueva for what the LA Times described as “his distaste for accountability and his efforts to roll back critical reforms.” 

Ridley-Thomas and Kuehl co-authored the motion, which “directs county lawyers and other staff to examine ways to impeach Villanueva or strip him of some responsibilities,” according to the LA Times. “One avenue being explored is an amendment to the state’s Constitution that would shift all of California’s county sheriffs from elected officials to appointed positions. The board will receive a report on viable options in January.”

In addition to Ridley-Thomas and Kuehl, Supervisor Hilda Solis voted in favor of the proposal; meanwhile, supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn opposed it.