Meet Paul

Paul Tanaka joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1982 and was appointed Undersheriff, the department’s second ranking position in 2011. Paul retired after more than 30 years of distinguished service in the summer of 2013.

Paul began his law enforcement career with the El Segundo Police Department in June 1980. Two years later, he transferred to the LA County Sheriff’s Department, where he held various assignments in patrol, custody and recruitment. 

During his more than 30 years of service, Paul served at the department’s Lynwood Station, Mira Loma Facility, the county’s Inmate Reception Center, Lennox Station, West Hollywood Station and in the Administrative Services Division.

In 2007, as Assistant Sheriff, Paul directly commanded the activities of the department’s three Field Operations Patrol Regions, Detective Division and the Homeland Security Division. In addition, with a budget of approximately $2.5 billion and more than 18,000 employees, Paul oversaw the Administrative Services Division, which included the department’s financial matters, human resources, facilities construction and maintenance.

In addition to his service with the LA County Sheriff, Paul is also Mayor of the City of Gardena. Having first been elected to the City Council in 1999, Paul was first elected mayor in 2005 and reelected in 2009 and 2013. As mayor, Paul came to understand the importance of hands-on management and understanding what is happening in individual communities and neighborhoods to create a brighter future for citizens with more opportunities for everyone.

Paul Tanaka

Paul with his brother and sister.

Paul holds an accounting degree from Loyola Marymount University, is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of California and had 20 years of experience working with a Gardena accounting firm.

In addition to his role as Mayor of Gardena, he also serves on the city’s Finance Committee and on the Boards of the County of Los Angeles Sanitation District #5, the South Bay Regional Public Communications Authority and the Selection Committee for LAFCO and the Coastal and Transportation Commission.

Paul lives in the city of Gardena with his wife Valerie, and their two children.

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