Former OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens Dead at 66

Former Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has died after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She was 66.

Hutchens was the first woman to occupy the top law enforcement position in Orange County. She was first hired in 2008 after the previous sheriff, Michael S. Carona, was indicted on federal corruption charges. She was credited with ushering in a period of calm and stability.

Hutchens was re-elected by voters and stayed on until 2017 when multiple controversies also forced her to resign. In addition to the jail informant scandal that resulted in tossed convictions and retrials, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged inhumane treatment in the county jails that Hutchens oversaw.

Hutchens battled breast cancer while in office. She never allowed her illness to interfere with her work, colleagues say. Instead, she used it as an opportunity to raise awareness.

“Hemingway described courage as ‘grace under pressure.’ There is no one who embodied that description more than Sandra Hutchens. Sheriff Hutchens lived her life and led this agency with courage, grace and dignity,” Sheriff Don Barnes said.

Hutchens is survived by her husband, Larry Hutchens, a retired commander with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.


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