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Community Policing Award Honoree

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens

Sandra Hutchens is the first female to become the Orange County (OC) Sheriff, no small accomplishment in this male dominated profession. Sheriff Hutchens has dedicated her service to the ideals of transparency, civilian oversight and community-oriented policing.

When Ferguson, Missouri was engulfed in protests and violence in 2014 after the killing by police of an African-American youth, and much of the rest of the country saw escalating tension, conflict, and violence between African Americans and law enforcement, Sheriff Hutchens was able to choose another approach. She reached out to the African American and Latino communities in Orange County, who have historically difficult relations with law enforcement, to see how they could work together.

Understanding the importance of developing trusting relations over time, Sheriff Hutchens worked with leaders from the Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, other diverse faith leaders and the OC Human Relations Commission to convene the OC Sheriff’s Interfaith Advisory Council to mobilize diverse communities. The purpose of the council is to engage with the OC Sheriff to impact policy, improve mutual understanding, and develop relationships.

Irvine Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Mike Hamel, joined in the partnership by hosting a Solidarity March which brought out over 1,000 diverse OC residents and police, demonstrating a path of police-community reconciliation and dialogue.
Sheriff Hutchens is a straight talking, honest and open leader. She is willing to go into any community, weather the harshest criticism, and respond with compassionate professionalism.

About the Award

The Community-Policing Award recognizes a department or officer that has tailored creative strategies to provide outstanding service to and build positive relationships with their communities.

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