Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti


Mayor Garcetti nominates Maria “Lou” Calanche to police commission

The Mayor also recognizes Sandra Figueroa-Villa’s seven years of extraordinary service and leadership on the Board

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti nominated Maria “Lou” Calanche to the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, adding a key East L.A. community activist, public policy expert, and vital voice for justice to the City’s leadership in 21st century policing. She would succeed Sandra Figueroa-Villa, who is stepping down from the Board.

“Lou has dedicated her life and career to empowering, strengthening, and lifting up L.A.’s youth — and that makes her the ideal leader to help us reimagine public safety in Los Angeles,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Lou’s presence and perspective will bring fresh thinking and innovative ideas to our Police Commission, help us deepen relationships between the LAPD and the communities it serves, and keep us on-course to a safer, more just, and more equitable city.”

Calanche is a professor of political science at East Los Angeles Community College and the Founder and Executive Director of Legacy LA, a youth development organization equipping at-risk youth living in Ramona Gardens with the tools and resources needed to reach their full potential, solve community challenges, develop solutions, and lead change in their neighborhoods. 

She has also been involved in the Invest in Youth campaign, where she has been instrumental in leading a citywide effort to expand funding for youth development in L.A. and improve ties between the city’s young people and law enforcement.

“Every day, I work to serve this city’s future by empowering our youth, and sitting on the Police Commission is yet another way to give back to our communities and find creative ways to invest in our diverse neighborhoods,” said Calanche. “Mayor Garcetti has vested me with an incredible honor, and I intend to partner with my fellow commissioners, the leadership and rank and file of the LAPD, and community experts in prevention, intervention, and violence reduction to continue making L.A. a model of 21st century policing.”

Calanche’s nomination is subject to review by the City Council. If confirmed, she would replace Figueroa-Villa, who was appointed to the Board of Police Commissioners by Mayor Garcetti in August of 2013.

“From the minute she joined our Police Commission, Sandra has helped drive an urgent conversation about what it means to deliver true fairness and equal treatment to Angelenos — and how to make our vision for just policing a reality for all of us, regardless of zip code,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Sandra always stood and fought on the right side of history on the Commission. We will miss her determination and leadership, and we wish her only strength as she moves on to her next chapter.” 

Today’s nomination comes at an inflection point in the history of the City’s — and the country’s — efforts to reform the way we keep our neighborhoods safe.

Over the course of Mayor Garcetti’s time in office, Los Angeles has accelerated and expanded its leadership in advancing the key principles of 21st century policing. Last month, the Mayor and City leaders announced the establishment of a new Community Safety Partnership Bureau within the LAPD — placing a nationally-recognized model for community policing at the heart of local public safety efforts. 

That progress built on past actions adopted by the civilian-led Board of Police Commissioners and the LAPD to change its training and tactics, including adjusting use of force standards, instituting mandatory implicit bias and de-escalation training, putting body cameras on every officer, and releasing those videos to the public. 

In addition, the Police Commission has banned the carotid hold, and the department has updated its policies on the duty to intervene against misconduct and ended use of the statewide gang database.

Right now, the Mayor and the City Council are working to identify new investments for community and youth development programs in communities of color, including $150 million in cuts to the police budget. The Council has also enacted measures to explore how to divert non-violent 911 calls away from our officers and toward social service providers.