Terri McDonald, Assistant Sheriff, Custody Operations
[KHTS] – After just one year with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Terri McDonald is Sheriff Lee Baca’s preferred candidate to replace him when he retires at the end of the month.
McDonald made headlines last year as an unexpected choice to become assistant sheriff for the custody division of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
McDonald’s appointment to assistant sheriff represented a significant departure for the department, which has historically promoted from within, according to a blog by Zev Yaroslavsky, LA county supervisor for the third district. The position also made McDonald the highest-ranking woman in the department’s history.
As an assistant sheriff, McDonald has reported directly to Baca and been able to see how recent shifts of certain oversight and incarceration responsibilities from the state to its counties, or “realignment,” is working. Some of her responsibilities include advising and assisting Baca in administrative and policy as well as recommending disciplinary action affecting personnel within her area of responsibility.
Before working for the Sheriff’s Department, McDonald worked as an undersecretary of operations for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) since 2011. During these years she was California’s point person for “realignment.” She said one of her many responsibilities included moving 10,000 inmates to five other states due to massive overcrowding, giving her a national perspective on prison models, according to Yaroslavsky’s blog.
“In my new role,” she said of becoming assistant sheriff, “I’ll have the opportunity to see the impact and work on solutions.”
McDonald is a 24-year veteran of the CDCR, and prior to working as the undersecretary of operations was the chief deputy secretary, associate director, chief, correctional administrator, correctional captain, correctional lieutenant, and a correctional officer.
At the CDCR McDonald supervised approximately 300,000 parolees and offenders in prison, was an executive leader for roughly 60,000 employees and had an operating budget in excess of $10 billion, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
McDonald is a member of the American Correctional Association and the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents.
She graduated with honors from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Leadership in Law Enforcement.
About Terri McDonald
Assistant Sheriff, Custody Operations
[LASD] – Terri McDonald, a 24-year veteran of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was recently appointed to the position of Assistant Sheriff by Sheriff Lee Baca and will oversee the Custody Division of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Assistant Sheriff McDonald’s career in law enforcement began in 1988 as a Correctional Officer with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. During her tenure with the CDCR, she literally worked her way up through the ranks of the Department, working as an Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, including Captain at Folsom State Prison, Associate Warden, Chief Deputy Warden, Division Chief, Chief Deputy Secretary and Undersecretary. Additionally, she oversaw the Statewide Classification Unit, Statewide Population Management Unit, assisted in revamping the correctional officer academy, oversaw and activated out-of-state prisons with California inmates.
Prior to her employment with our Department, Assistant Sheriff McDonald oversaw California’s state prisons, juvenile justice, gang unit, fugitive apprehension unit, victim services, rehabilitative programming and the Ombudsman’s office. During her years with the CDCR, Assistant Sheriff McDonald supervised approximately 300,000 offenders in prison and parole serving as an executive leader for roughly 60,000 employees, with an operating budget in excess of $10 billion.
Assistant Sheriff McDonald holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Leadership in Law Enforcement, graduating with Honors, from the University of San Francisco.
Assistant Sheriff McDonald maintains a home in Northern California and resides in Los Angeles County. She is single; but in a long-term committed relationship and in her free time enjoys travel, golf and camping.