For the first time in Orange County’s history, the Board of Supervisors has appointed a replacement to fill a vacancy of the office of Sheriff-Coroner.  Supervisors Moorlach and Nguyen joined me in supporting the appointment of former Los Angeles Sheriff’s Division Chief Sandra Hutchens to serve out the remaining term through January, 2011, of the previously elected Sheriff who resigned in January of this year.  After a thorough and deliberative process involving a national executive search firm recruiting 48 applicants, of which 9 finalists were interviewed, I believe Sheriff-designee Hutchens best presented the necessary credentials, management philosophy and a prudent plan to move our Sheriff’s Department forward. 

A resident of Dana Point, Sheriff-designee Hutchens’ 30 years of experience delivering contract police services and regional law enforcement to unincorporated areas well equips her for serving the needs of South County residents in a region that includes 10 cities contracting with our Sheriff’s Department.  She brings a fresh, outsider’s perspective for advancing a new culture in the Department as well as insider knowledge on Sheriff’s operations and the menu of services provided within a county.  Sheriff-designee Hutchens’ extensive background in community policing, ethics training, managing nearly 1,000 sworn peace officers and overseeing a budget with $400 million in revenues will serve her well in leading our Sheriff’s Deputies. 

Sheriff-designee Hutchens began her career as a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy in 1978, which included assignments as an Investigator for the Detective Division, Custody Deputy and Training Sergeant for the Sybil Brand County Jail facility, Investigator for the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, and Chief’s Aide for Field Operations.  In 1994, she was promoted to Lieutenant, serving as Watch Commander of Operations for the Norwalk Station and the Sybil Brand County Jail facility.  In 1999, Hutchens was advanced to Captain of the Norwalk Station and later to Commander of Field Operations, managing Region III that included the contract cities of Norwalk, La Mirada, Industry, Pico Rivera, Walnut, Diamond Bar and Avalon.  In 2003, Sheriff Baca promoted her to Division Chief of the Office of Homeland Security.

As fourth in command of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Hutchens was entrusted with establishing an entirely new division that managed all Sheriff Contracts for law enforcement, which totaled $400 million in revenues. In this role, she oversaw “Operation Safe Streets” Gang Enforcement Prevention, the Aero Bureau, Special Enforcement Bureau, Emergency Operations Bureau, Transit Security, Field Operations Support, Community Oriented Policing Bureau, Community Law Enforcement Partnership Bureau, and the 800-member Reserve Force.   Sheriff-designee Hutchens’ previous command of these critical law enforcement services provide her the essential knowledge and experience to best serve the needs of Orange County and my Fifth District constituents, and I look forward to working with her.