She was steely than she needed to be, but her style was more honey than vinegar. She invited strangers, she “Sandy. ”
But she left no doubt – the board who appointed her, the MPs she led, and the public she served – she was the sheriff.
Former Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, one of the most notable women in law enforcement across the country, died Monday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 66 years old.
Sheriff Sandra Hutchens welcomes attendees to the Orange County Solidarity March in Irvine in August 2016. (File photo by Ana Venegas, Orange County Register / SCNG)
New Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens listens as Orange County Regulators conduct a straw poll in their favor. They voted: 3-2 for them over Paul Walters. (File Photo by Jebb Harris, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens speaks to the media to announce the January 2016 arrest of prison refugees Hossein Nayeri and Jonathan Tieu outside OCSD headquarters in Santa Ana. (File Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff, says Jan.. July 2017 during an evidence hearing for convicted murder of Scott Dekraai at the Santa Ana Central Justice Center in Santa Ana about the use of informants in prison. (File Photo by Nick Agro, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is hugged before a June 2009 press conference at the Brad Gates Forensic Science Building in Santa Ana. (File photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens listens to citizens’ views on their clandestine gun permits during a regular Orange County Board meeting in February 2009. (File photo by Ken Steinhardt, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff, speaks about the fallen officers who died on duty during the May 2017 Memorial Service of Orange County Peace Officers &, with the names of the officers standing behind her. (File photo by Steven Georges, contributing photographer)
Sandra Hutchens visits supporters outside of the meeting, where she was later elected Orange County Sheriff in June 2008. (File Photo by Jebb Harris, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens appears before the Board of Directors in Santa Ana, California in January 2018 to speak about helicopter rescue. (File photo by Ken Steinhardt, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner, right, stands with Andrew Do, left, the Orange County Supervisor, and Mario Cuevas, right, the Consul of Mexico, at the launch of the comprehensive women’s care initiative in January 2017 in Santa Ana. (File photo by Ana Venegas, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff, answers questions during a press conference at the Brad Gates Forensic Science Building in Santa Ana in June 2009. (File photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)
New Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is congratulated after Orange County regulators voted 3-2 to her sheriff in June 2008. (File Photo by Jebb Harris, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Damon Micalizzi, Public Information Officer for the Orange County Sheriff, jokes with Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff, that she had to repeat the interview because she was interviewed after her first live television interview at Cox Communication in Rancho Santa Margarita in June 2008 forgot to publish the recording. (File Photo by Marilynn Young, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff, answers questions during a press conference in January 2016 about three inmates who escaped from the Central Male Prison in Santa Ana. (File Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Hutchens, the first sheriff’s wife in Orange County, rebuilt a division badly damaged by her predecessor in prison, and gained a national reputation that was once described as « legendary » by President Donald Trump. ”
« It has restored our pride, restored us dignity and restored trust in the people we serve, » Sheriff Don Barnes said in a prepared statement. “She kept her oath, kept her promises and ended her term in order to leave this agency better than at the beginning. ”
Fred Smoller, professor of political science at Chapman University, said he was saddened by the news.
« Sandy? … She was a trailblazer in a club that can be considered an old boy, ”said Smoller.
Huthen’s 10-year tenure in Orange County was not without its challenges, however. Prosecutors and MPs on their watch wrongly used prison informers to gather evidence on criminal suspects. These misdeeds resulted in Scott Dekraai, Orange County’s worst serial killer, avoiding death row. She publicly argued with a Supreme Court judge who believed he was withholding documents. And there was an embarrassing escape from prison by three inmates, including one known as Orange County’s « Hannibal Lecter » who took advantage of prison officials and their superiors who had become negligent.
But perhaps her biggest nemesis was cancer, which she spoke about publicly to encourage and inspire others to make their own struggles with the disease. Barnes said their fight had been successful for eight years. But the cancer came back. It was too much this time, even for a fighter like Hutchens who was constantly evolving.
So she went from a high school senior in Long Beach to a pharmacy technician to an ice cream scoop while taking community college courses in her early adult years.
Hutchens then ended up serving as a clerk in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, a typist who wanted more than just copying arrest reports. She applied for the academy and received a deputy position in 1978. She rose through the ranks and was named the division’s homeland security director in 2003.
1980, on New Year’s Eve, Hutchens fatally shot and killed a man who was holding a gun in a Willowbrook garage. The gun was found to be unloaded, but an investigation by the prosecution released Hutchens and her partner from any criminal liability. However, the deceased’s family received $ 1. 3 million from a civil jury.
After 32 years in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, she moved to her Orange County home. But it wasn’t long before her husband, Larry, alerted her to the disaster that had become the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Former Sheriff Michael Carona had resigned and was charged with political corruption. He was later convicted in federal court of witness manipulation. In the meantime, the department had done pretty much everything itself.
In 2008, Orange County regulators were looking for someone to fill the remaining two years for Carona’s tenure. More than a dozen advertised.
Hutchens won the job, handpicked by a district authority that was fed up with banning Carona Hörner. But they soon found that Hutchens was a heel-digger herself and often advocated her interpretation of the law, whether it made political sense or not.
Former State Sen. . John Moorlach was one of the board members who voted for her.
« Michael Carona did strange things that affected the entire department and sometimes you need a calming voice. She brought it with her, ”said Moorlach.
« It was a pleasure to be around her, too, » Bates recalled. “She was so respectful but steadfast. She was physically and mentally involved in what she was doing. ”
Hutchens began collecting the replica badges and hidden gun permits that Carona had distributed to contributors. And she began – against her will – to release some prison inmates after her interpretation of a new state law.
That was Sandra Hutchens; She saw her job as enforcing the law, regardless of how she felt about the law. In the whistleblowing scandal, she blamed the problem on MPs who had not received adequate training and held herself responsible for it. She fiercely defended her troops.
Hutchens was elected Sheriff for a full four-year term in 2010 and 2014. By 2017, she met with Trump as president of the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, as well as with Thomas Manger, a Maryland police chief. Trump was exuberant in praising the two. « You’ve had great service, » said the president.
That same year, Hutchens announced that she would be retiring at the end of her term as the federal department is investigating and the ACLU demands her resignation.
But she went out on her own terms and recommended her protégé, then Undersheriff Barnes, for the job. He won the election in 2018.
« To me personally, she was a mentor and friend, » said Barnes. “I will continue to be inspired by their commitment to always do the right thing regardless of the consequences and to serve the interests of the department and the community first without the need for self-recognition. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities she has given me and the many lessons I have learned from her over the years. ”
In accordance with Hutchens’ wishes, Barnes said, there will be no memorial service. Your family has asked to make donations for drug use is life abuse on their behalf (www. duila. org) or the Susan G. . Komen Foundation (www. come. org), two charities that she actively supported in office.
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Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Sandra Hutchens, Mike Carona, Breast Cancer
World News – USA – Former Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens dies after a long battle with cancer
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