Jim McDonnell named Chief of Police for Long Beach

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Jim McDonnell, a 28-year police veteran with a history of innovative leadership and community outreach, will take the lead as the new Chief of Police for the City of Long Beach.

“Chief McDonnell’s leadership excellence and his ability to build strong relationships with diverse communities makes him an outstanding choice to lead our Police Department,” City Manager Pat West said. “Simply put, Jim McDonnell is the best person to lead the Long Beach Police Department, and appointing him Chief of Police is the right choice for our community and the right choice for the Department.”

Chief McDonnell, one of the nation’s pre-eminent law enforcement officials, has served as First Assistant Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, second in command of the third largest police department in the United States.

“As a resident of this great city, he is already a member of our community and knows our neighborhoods and where some of our challenges are,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “Chief McDonnell’s leadership excellence and his ability to build strong relationships with diverse communities makes him an outstanding choice to lead our police department.”

During his career, Chief McDonnell has earned the trust and respect of the community and the officers under his leadership. He is widely credited with implementing the plan to reinvent and reform the Los Angeles Police Department.

“I’m honored to be chosen for this position, and I will do everything in my power to make Long Beach the safest large city in the United States,” Chief McDonnell said. “I’m looking forward to working with every member of this great Department, just as I’m looking forward to working with the community as a true partner in public safety.”

Chief McDonnell has served as Chief of Detectives and Chief of Staff, after having had citywide command of the Operations and Human Resources functions for the LAPD, where he served for more than 28 years. He has received numerous community and department awards, including the LAPD’s highest award for bravery, the Medal of Valor.

“I wish our new Chief the very best. While crime continues to drop in Long Beach, we still have major challenges with gangs, criminal activity and quality of life issues,” said First District Council Member Robert Garcia. “Chief McDonnell inherits in my opinion, the very best Police Department and Command Staff in the state. Our men and women have done an incredible job of reducing and preventing crime throughout the city.”

Six internal and three external candidates were considered for the position, and were interviewed by four panels:

  • A diverse four-member community stakeholder panel.
  • A four-member technical panel, including the San Diego Chief of Police, the San Mateo Chief of Police and incoming President of the California Chiefs Association, the Riverside Assistant Police Chief, and a former Deputy District Attorney.
  • A four-member panel consisting of various City department directors.
  • A panel of executive management.

While each candidate’s breadth of experience and commitment were impressive, Jim McDonnell was the overwhelming first choice of each of the four panels. Each of those panels felt strongly that Jim McDonnell was clearly the top choice and a great fit for the Long Beach community and the Long Beach Police Department.

Chief McDonnell 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 FBI’s prestigious National Executive Institute, the Senior Management Institute for Police and has completed Executive Education programs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

He regularly lectures at a number of Department schools and has trained criminal justice professionals on a variety of topics, such as leadership, ethics, community policing, handling line of duty deaths, and the recruitment and retention of valuable employees.  Chief McDonnell is recognized as an expert on policing issues and has lectured on these topics around the world.

Chief Billy Quach has been running the Police Department since Chief Anthony Batts resigned in October 2009 to be the Chief of Police in Oakland.

Chief McDonnell’s start date and salary will be determined.

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