Long was born in San Francisco but spent most of his formative years in Vallejo. He learned the plastering trade from his contractor father and engaged in this business for a number of years before being appointed to the Richmond Board of Education.
After being elected in his own right, Long remained on the board for four years. While Long served the residents of Richmond on its school board, he also took on the responsibilities of becoming the City's mayor from 1920-21. It was in this office that he first achieved some fame.
An ordinance existed which restricted the speed of railroad trains through the City. After repeated warnings on infractions of the law, which the railroad Santa Fe ignored, Mayor Long personally swung aboard one of the engines that had been exceeding the speed limit and arrested the engineer.
After serving as Richmond's postmaster, a State assemblyman and a Contra Costa County Supervisor, Long was successful in his attempt to become the County's Sheriff. In fact, the man was never defeated in an election.
Long was a member of many fraternal and professional law enforcement organizations and was active in virtually all of them at one time or another. He was one of the first members and masters of Alpha Lodge of Masons and one of the first members of the Richmond Lodge of Elks.