Orange County, Calif., Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said Wednesday that she plans to recall all the badges that her indicted predecessor handed out to a group of more than 400 civilian volunteers, many the county’s most wealthy and influential residents, reports the Los Angeles Times. Hutchens said she was uncomfortable with the volunteers carrying badges, even though they are not exact replicas of those issued to the department’s 1,800 sworn deputies. She said she wants to ensure that the so-called professional service responders are volunteering for the right reason — public service — and that the program is no longer tainted by allegations that badges were issued as political favors.
The new sheriff revealed her plans on the same day she took further steps to distance herself from indicted former Sheriff Michael S. Carona. She named people from outside the department to her executive staff and released a draft copy of a new policy governing the issuance of concealed weapons permits. Carona had issued the permits to about 1,100 people, several of them political supporters. “This is another sign we are moving into the future of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and not looking back,” she said.