Former Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has passed away after a lengthy battle with breast cancer, the department announced Monday.
Hutchens was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2012 and continued to lead the department while successfully fighting the disease for eight years.
In a statement, Sheriff Don Barnes said "Unfortunately, the cancer recently returned and Sheriff Hutchens passed this morning with her loved ones by her side."
Hutchens served as the 12th sheriff of the county from 2008 to 2019. Barnes noted that she assumed the role at a difficult time.
"The public's trust had been broken by the previous sheriff. Upon taking office, she immediately took action to put one of the nation's largest law enforcement agencies back on track. She was a leader whose ethics matched the culture of the men and women of this department," he said. "She restored our pride, gave us back our dignity and rebuilt trust with the people we serve. She kept her oath, kept her promises, and ended her time in office leaving this agency better than when she started."
The current sheriff described Hutchens as a mentor and friend who served "the department and community's interests first without need for self-recognition."
Barnes added that, in keeping with Hutchens' wishes, there will not be a memorial service. Instead, her family has asked that donations be made in her name to two charities she actively supported: Drug Use is Life Abuse and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Former Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens dies after lengthy battle with breast cancer