Jim McDonnell has been chief of the Long Beach Police Department since 2010; previously, he served with the Los Angeles Police Department for 29 years. Before participating in a panel on breaking the deadlock in the gun debate, he talked about his love for cilantro, his affinity for the king of the jungle, and the best place to eat in Long Beach in the Zócalo green room.
What’s the ugliest piece of furniture you own?
I have an old roll-top desk in this little office I have in the house that I love, but other people say it’s ugly.
What’s your favorite condiment?
I’m a big mustard guy, But also I’m drawing a blank—Mexican, green, chopped-up stuff … cilantro. I love cilantro. If that’s a condiment, I don’t know.
When’s the last time you shot a gun?
Last week. [Where?] At the range.
What was your best day on the LAPD?
Probably the day I graduated from the academy, where you’ve got your whole career ahead of you, you’re excited, everything is new, anticipating the challenge ahead.
Where would we find you at 10 a.m. on a typical Sunday morning?
Probably at home, hopefully having breakfast. Or reading the paper.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Long Beach?
An Italian place called La Traviata.
What animal would you want to be?
King of the jungle. The lion.
What was your worst subject in school?
I did well in it. I didn’t care for it—it was math.
Who or what do you root for?
The Boston Red Sox.
What’s the last habit you tried to kick?
Drinking diet soda. [Did it work?] Yes.