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LAX Airport Police Chief Outpaces Every Challenger to Incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva, in Only 6 Months Raises More Than Villanueva Raised in His 2018 Bid

LOS ANGELES, CA – Continuing to demonstrate his status as the top challenger to incumbent LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, today LAX Police Chief Cecil Rhambo’s campaign announced that he had raised $212,993 in the fundraising quarter ending December 31st, the most of any candidate running against Villanueva during that period. The sum, raised in just six months since launching his campaign, is more than Villanueva raised in his 2018 bid for Sheriff.


Upon announcing these fundraising figures, Chief Rhambo released the following statement:


“I’m deeply grateful for the support that our campaign has received from people all throughout LA County who are eager for change at the Sheriff’s Department. These strong numbers show that our message of progress is resonating with people all across the county. There's so much at stake in this election and that's why it's an incredible honor to have the confidence and early support of so many Angelenos this early in the campaign. I look forward to continuing to make the case far and wide across LA County for why I’m the best candidate to take on Alex and deliver real reform to the Sheriff’s Department.”


Significantly, this follows the recent announcement by the Rhambo for Sheriff campaign that it had topped over 100 endorsements, in what has become a wide-ranging coalition that spans increasingly countywide.


This powerful announcement comes on the heels of recent Rhambo's op-ed in LA Magazine blasting top cops who are fighting vaccine mandates as being a clear and direct threat to the public safety they claim to be dedicated to protecting.

Cecil Rhambo is a longtime public servant and public safety officer who currently serves as the Chief of Airport Police at LAX. Rhambo was raised in Compton and South Los Angeles after being adopted from Korea as an infant, graduating from Washington High School. Following college, Rhambo started his 33-year career in law enforcement, where he quickly moved up the ranks. 

As a Sergeant, Rhambo was assigned to the Internal Affairs Bureau where he assisted in the formation of the Shooting and Force Response Team in the wake of the Rodney King beating, the first time the Sheriff’s Department used Internal Affairs bureau began extensively reviewing reports of excessive force, including creating a database where the misconduct records of officers would be tracked as an “early warning” system.

As a Lieutenant in Internal Affairs Bureau, Rhambo began leading the Shooting and Force Response Teams and was later directed to head the Asian Crime Task Force, where he commanded a group of investigators and multilingual deputies to investigate crimes in LA County committed against Asians or by Asians, focusing on community outreach.

In 2000, after the city of Compton voted to disband its police department, Cecil was assigned to be the Captain of Compton’s Sheriff patrol contract, returning to the community he was from.  During his three years in this role, Rhambo heavily focused on community policing in the worst-hit areas of the city, which resulted in a dramatic reduction in crime, gang activity, and traffic fatalities along with establishing their first youth boxing and recreation center and paving the way for the first Starbucks.

After leaving the City of Compton, Rhambo was asked to re-start the Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Bureau, which focused on suppressing violent crime, combatting homelessness, parking enforcement, quality of life programs, youth programs, the mental health response teams that partnered a deputy with psych clinicians county-wide, and the Crisis or Hostage Negotiations Team which responds to high-level crisis events like SWAT responses or suicidal barricades. 

While commanding the COPS Bureau, Rhambo designed the basic model that’s used to address homeless people to this day by the Sheriff’s Department, relying on a “soft approach” of deputies dressed in soft uniforms partnering with outreach workers and various governmental departments to make contact with the chronically homeless, offer them bridge and supportive housing and connect them with services, including dental offices, showers, clothing, food, and partnering with the Public Defender’s Office to expunge minor offenses. 

Later, when the Sheriff’s Department came under fire from the ACLU and the FBI for prisoner abuse, Rhambo took on his boss, then-Sheriff Lee Baca, and other people in leadership. Rhambo urged Baca to fully comply with the FBI, but was ignored. Rhambo eventually testified against the LASD’s corruption, resulting in the imprisonment of Baca and 11 deputies.

As Chief of Airport Police, Rhambo leads the nation’s largest dedicated airport public safety force. Rhambo also served as City Manager of the City of Compton from 2017 through July 2019 and Assistant City Manager of the City of Carson from 2014 to 2017.  

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