Hutchens, Orange County’s 12th sheriff, held office from 2008 to 2019, and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She was succeeded by Sheriff Don Barnes.
“She courageously fought this disease while still leading this department,” Barnes said in a press release. “Her fight was successful for eight years. Unfortunately, the cancer recently returned and Sheriff Hutchens passed … with her loved ones by her side.”
Hutchens took office during a difficult time; she replaced embattled Sheriff Mike Carona, who in 2007 was convicted of corruption charges.
“The public’s trust had been broken by the previous sheriff,” Barnes said. “Upon taking office, [Hutchens] 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. 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.”
Congresswoman Michelle Steel, who worked with the sheriff while on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, said Hutchens will be missed.
“She dedicated her career to protecting Orange County families and keeping crime low,” Steel said in a statement. “I am praying for her family today and in the days to come.”