Law enforcement veteran and leading Republican candidate, Matt Rodriguez proved his respect for both his community and law enforcement when he participated in CBS L.A.’s special ‘Meet The Candidates: LA County Sheriff’ forum on Wednesday night, April 20. With the sheriff race being one of California’s most important and talked about elections this year, the broadcast television network helped voters decide who they’ll vote for on the June primary ballot during the hour-long forum.

Rodriguez is one of the eight candidates who are running against the current L.A. County Sheriff, Alex Villanueva, a Democratic who was elected in 2018. Several of Villanueva’s challengers, including Rodriguez, participated in the forum, which premiered on the streaming service, CBS Los Angeles. The special was hosted by broadcast journalist Pat Harvey and senior reporter Ross Palombo, who’s been covering the race for CBS.

As reported on TV Mix, residents of Los Angeles county have expressed their desire to see new leadership in the sheriff’s office and a new vision for public safety. Like Rodriguez, the public is critical of Villanueva’s confrontational style as the leader of the second largest law enforcement organization in the U.S.

The sheriff, who won the election in a stunning upset four years ago, infamously battles with county leaders, supervisors and the L.A. district attorney, George Gasc√≥n. Villanueva has never apologized for his actions, however; he instead repeatedly defends his record, despite the crime rate drastically increasing during the past two years. As a result, L.A. county voters across the county have shared in a recent poll that public safety and crime have become their top concerns during the sheriff’s term.

During the ‘Meet The Candidates: LA County Sheriff’ forum, Harvey asked Rodriguez about the fact that he was once friends with Villanueva, but is now against the current sheriff from receiving another term in office. Rodriguez responded by saying that he respects Villanueva “for the man that he is, but as far as his performance as the sheriff, it’s been a dismal failure.

“As far as our relationship, we couldn’t be more politically different; we’re on different sides of the spectrum. He’s a progressive Democrat, who’s not tough on crime…His homeless plan has (also been) just been a farce,” the Republican candidate continued.

“It’s nothing more than political theater. He wants to be the most popular guy in L.A. city, knowing that there’s a mayoral race, and that most people voting in this race are going to be in the city. So it’s pretty obvious what his theatrics are, and unfortunately, the sheriff’s office is now in shambles,” Rodriguez also stated while responding to Harvey during the forum.

Rodriguez is the best candidate in this year’s race to become the next L.A. County Sheriff. He’s a government security specialist who once served as Captain in the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. Having also most recently served as the Interim Chief of Police and Assistant Chief of Police in the City of Santa Paula, he has proven that he believes in respecting people, law enforcement and the rule of law.

The L.A. County Sheriff Republican candidate also possesses four academic degrees, including a Master’s Degree in Executive Leadership from the School of Public Policy at USC; a Master’s of Public Administration from Cal State Long Beach; a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from UCLA; and an Associate of Science degree in Administration of Justice from Citrus Community College.

One of Rodriguez’s highest priorities is instating police reform in the LAPD. He hopes to finally stop the corruption that has plagued the department throughout his 32-year career.

Besides police reform, another one of the law enforcement veteran’s top priorities is battling homelessness across L.A. If elected as sheriff, he’ll take a humanistic but realistic approach to homelessness across the county.

If elected as L.A. County Sheriff, Rodriguez will work closely with homeless advocates to provide proper housing, medical and mental health care. For those without a home who are seeking change, he believes rapid rehousing is essential.

Besides supporting police reform and supporting the homeless community, the Republican nominee nominee also favors bringing about changes to the criminal justice system. On his official campaign website, he states that those changes “should include proven evidence based programs with a track record of success. Reform requires a surgical approach to change, widespread community understanding and concurrence. As opposed to the failed reform of our current leadership.”

Rodriguez also feels it’s critical that law enforcement officers form partnerships with their communities in order to ensure public safety. He further believes that the relationship between the two sides is essential to maintaining public trust.

“Public safety is a shared responsibility that requires positive working relations built upon public consent, trust, understanding and innovation,” the L.A. County Sheriff nominee added on his website. As Sheriff, he’ll rally the community to join the department to solve problems and create a safer community for everyone.

Watch the full ‘Meet the candidates: LA County Sheriff’ forum in the YouTube video above.

Matt Rodriguez, a Republican candidate in the 2022 L.A. County Sheriff race.

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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