Former Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, the first woman to head the department, died Monday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 66 years old.
Hutchens was named sheriff in June 2008 after Mike Carona resigned five months earlier, who was later convicted of witness manipulation. Hutchens was elected to her first term in June 2010 and served two terms.
Hutchens was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2012. When she announced her resignation in June 2017, she denied it on health grounds and said she was in remission.
« I’ve heard rumors out there that the sheriff is stepping down due to illness, » Hutchens said after announcing her resignation, saying it was time after more than four decades in law enforcement. « I have no illness. I’m fine. Everything comes back (OK), everything is fine, so not for health reasons. I work out in the morning. I feel good. «
Hutchens took over a department that was shaken by Carona’s corrupt political favors for his friends. She had retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department last year.
Hutchens has been commended for getting the Orange County’s division back on track after Carona’s scandals and steering it through significant budget cuts sparked by the Great Recession. Hutchens bridged these budget gaps, among other things, with a « beds for the government » program that rented space for immigrant prisoners.
However, her government later came under fire in the case of Scott Dekraai, the worst mass murderer in the county’s history. Allegations have surfaced that their MPs operated a confidential whistleblower program in the prisons that led to violations of the constitutional rights of some inmates.
Dekraai, who pleaded guilty to killing his ex-wife and seven other people at the Meritage Salon in Seal Beach in 2011, was later sentenced to life without parole when an Orange County Supreme Court judge overturned the death Punishment as an option for prosecutors as punishment for misusing the confidential whistleblower program.
Hutchens was also at the forefront of the daring escape of three inmates of Orange County Prison in January 2016.
Her successor, Sheriff Don Barnes, said the news of her death left him « with a heavy heart ». «
Barnes said Hutchens « fought bravely (breast cancer) while still running that department. Their fight was successful for eight years.
Unfortunately, cancer recently returned and Sheriff Hutchens passed away this morning with loved ones by her side. «
Hutchens, the 12. Sheriff in the county’s history, « came into office at a difficult time, » said Barnes.
« The public’s trust was broken by the previous sheriff, » Barnes said, referring to Carona. « After taking office, she immediately took steps to get one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country back on track. She was a leader whose ethics were in keeping with the culture of the men and women in the department. It restored our pride, restored our dignity, and built trust in the people we serve. She kept her oath, kept her promises, and ended her term better than it did at the beginning. «
Barnes said Hutchens « lived her life and ran this agency with courage, grace and dignity. She valiantly ended her life the same way.
The last time I spoke to her, she was strong, retained her sense of humor, and continued to have a deep love and appreciation for the people of Orange County. «
Hutchens was a « mentor and friend, » he said, adding that he « will continue to be inspired by their commitment, regardless of the consequences, of always doing the right thing and without interest at first with the interest of the department and the community To serve community need for self-awareness. «
Former Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, who is running for another term on the board after serving as Senator, said he had texted the former sheriff in the past few days.
« At least I had a chance to tell her that I prayed for her and her husband, but I also thanked her for working with the board in creating the Office of Independent Review, » said Moorlach of the Surveillance Board began under her tenure.
« She really appreciated the Office of Independent Review model, » said Moorlach. “I hired her as CEO in 2008 to help us interview candidates for OIR. «
Moorlach said he was proud to be a « gender bender, » as mentioned in an editorial about the selection of the county’s first sheriff’s wife.
« I . . . I thanked her for making me a gender bender because I was one of the three voices, « said Moorlach. « She was professional and had an open door policy. She built a great command staff, which included Donald Barnes. «
Tom Dominguez, the former union leader who represents the sheriff’s deputy, said Hutchens is under even closer scrutiny because of her gender.
« It is often lost that she was the first sheriff wife of Orange County, which makes her a pioneer in our county, » Dominguez said. « And it’s a very difficult job to start with and taking into account that she is a woman women have more and more difficulties, especially in law enforcement, but I think she really rose to the challenge and did her best. «
Dominguez admitted his union had conflicts with Hutchens over the years, but he praised them for never taking it personally.
« But at the end of the day I had a lot of respect for her and I acknowledge and acknowledge that she had an extremely difficult job. «
« We agreed early on in our relationship not to take anything personal, » he said. « It was just a business. It made it easier for her to do what she had to do and it made it easier for me to do what I had to do …
Maybe there have been an incident or two where we got close to these lines and had controversial calls, but we didn’t really hold a grudge. «
Dominguez said Hutchens and Carona « were day and night. Her focus was more on the department and running the department as well as solving some problems. Your predecessor? Not as much. «
Domignuez said his « fond memories » of the sheriff were the « private lunches we had in her office from time to time. I was really looking forward to it. You were having fun. I look back and think that was really nice of her. We wouldn’t talk about business. Just family and life. For me there was something human about her. «
« In my role on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, we’ve worked very closely, » Steel said in the statement. « She has dedicated her career to protecting Orange County’s families and reducing crime. I pray for her family today and in the days to come. «
There will be no memorial service. Your family has asked to donate for drug use is life abuse on their behalf – www. duila. org – or the Susan G. . Komen Foundation, two charities she actively supported in office.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Sandra Hutchens, Mike Carona, Breast Cancer, Sheriff
World News – USA – Former Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens dies after years of battling breast cancer
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