James “Jim” McDonnell (Born 1960) is the Sheriff of Los Angeles County, California. McDonnell was elected as L.A. County’s 32nd sheriff on November 4, 2014 defeating former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka. He replaced interim sheriff John Scott on December 1, 2014 when he was sworn in. Previously he served as the Chief of Police in Long Beach, California and before that in the Los Angeles Police Department, reaching the rank of Assistant Chief.
McDonnell grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. He then received a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
McDonnell began his law enforcement career as twenty-one-year-old graduate from the Los Angeles Police Academy in 1981. During his 28 years of work in the LAPD, he held every rank except Chief of Police and served as second in command to Chief William Bratton. He was considered a frontrunner for the position but Charlie Beck was appointed instead of him. While at the LAPD McDonnell was viewed as an ambassador who helped the department connect with Los Angeles’ diverse communities and political leaders as Bratton’s chief of staff and second-in-command. As a candidate for Chief in 2002, McDonnell presented a plan for community-based policing that was eventually adopted by Bratton and served as the foundation to overhaul and reform the LAPD. While working for the LAPD, he held a variety of assignments in patrol, detectives, vice, gang, organized crime, homicide and other divisions. In the 1990s as a commander, he gained attention for his efforts to revitalize the LAPD’s senior lead officer program and to build the LAPD forerunner to the Compstat computer crime-mapping system along with helping implement the consent decree.