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LAX hires former sheriff’s deputy as airport police chief

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles World Airports has announced it has hired a former assistant county sheriff as its next chief of airport police.

Cecil Rhambo will replace David Maggard, who was named LAWA’s deputy executive director for Law Enforcement and Homeland Security this summer after serving as the airport police chief for three years.

“Cecil Rhambo is a highly respected and regarded law-enforcement and municipal leader who has extensive local relationships and experience across a wide variety of law enforcement assignments,” LAWA CEO Deborah Flint said.

Rhambo retired in 2014 from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. In his 33 years in the department, Rhambo developed expertise in areas including municipal patrol, emergency management, community partnerships and employee union relations. As assistant chief, his responsibilities included overseeing the county’s rail and bus lines, experience that will serve him well as the airport builds an Automated People Mover train system, which will connect to the county’s regional rail system when completed in 2023.

“His experience as a key member of the executive leadership team for the largest sheriff’s department in the United States makes Cecil Rhambo the ideal person to lead the biggest and best dedicated airport police force in the nation,” Maggard said.

As chief, Rhambo will lead the nation’s largest airport law enforcement force of more than 1,100 sworn and civilian personnel at Los Angeles International and Van Nuys airports, officials said.

The Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association commended the selection of Rhambo.

“In the history of the Los Angeles Airport Police, which dates back to 1946, no police chief or safety/security executive has had the depth of on-the-ground and highly specialized policing experience, combined with civilian management experience, that … Rhambo has,” the association said in a statement.

Association President Marshall McClain said morale among the association’s members “surged” after Rhambo was announced as the next chief.

“His leadership will change the culture of the airport police force and instill the values of respect, dedication and diversity among its officers and its higher-ups,” McClain said. “The LAAPOA Board of Directors recently met with Chief Rhambo and is excited about working with him to move the department forward.”

Rhambo received his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Humboldt State University and his master’s degree in organizational leadership from Woodbury University.

After retiring from the sheriff’s department in 2014 Rhambo worked in municipal government, serving as assistant city manager of Carson until 2017 when he became city manager of Compton.

Staff and Wire Reports