The appointment was announced Friday by West Region Editor Traci Carl. Abdollah starts Jan. 7.
"We are excited to have Tami join us in Los Angeles," Carl said. "She is a tireless reporter who will keep AP ahead on an important beat."
Law enforcement was among the topics Abdollah covered during three years with the Los Angeles Times starting in 2006. She left journalism in 2009 and spent a year in Baghdad working for an organization that assisted with the U.S.-led rebuilding effort.
Abdollah returned to full-time reporting in 2011, working first as a temporary legislative reporter for the AP in Salem, Ore., and then joining Los Angeles public radio station KPCC as an education reporter. Earlier in her career, she held internships at The Wall Street Journal, working in Brussels and Paris.
Abdollah is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and spent a year studying at The Sorbonne University/Center for Critical Studies in Paris.