By Miriam Raftery
Photo by Ron Logan
July 30, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore will not seek reelection in 2022, he informed his 3,600 employees yesterday.
Gore, 73, has served three terms of office, which will end in January 2023.
In a statement to media, Gore said, "It is an honor and a privilege to serve the people of San Diego County. I am grateful and humbled by the continued community support that I have received for the last 12 years.”
He adds, “Being your Sheriff is one of the most rewarding experiences of my law enforcement career. Rewarding primarily because of the extraordinary men and women in the department who work tirelessly every day to keep San Diego the safest urban county in the nation."
His department serves the county’s unincorporated areas and contracts with nine local cities, including Lemon Grove and Santee here in East County.
His decision not to seek reelection leaves an open seat for Sheriff in San Diego County, which has more than 3 million residents and is the fifth largest county in the U.S. based on population.
Gore has a 47-year career in law enforcement, including serving as Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), where he helped pioneer the first cyber crimes squad and joint terrorism task force. A Navy veteran raised in San Diego, he comes from a law enforcement family and is married to one of the FBI’s first women agents.
In a 2018 interview with East County Magazine, Gore said the county’s crime rate was the lowest in 30 or 40 years. He credited the drop with use of technology and taking a proactive approach, as well as forming collaborative partnerships with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and forming task forces to help nab criminals early. He also worked with the U.S. Attorney in San Diego to form the first regional forensics laboratory in the U.S.
But the Sheriff has drawn criticism for San Diego County’s jails and detention centers having the highest rate of inmate deaths of any large county in California, a matter that the state Legislature is considering having an independent auditor investigate. Use of force controversies, racial tensions and lawsuits over concealed carry permits have also been issues during his tenure.
Sheriff Gore’s decision not to seek reelection opens the San Diego County Sheriff’s seat for the first time in dozen years.
At least one candidate is already taking aim on the seat.
Former Sheriff’s Commander Dave Myers is planning to announce his candidacy on August 26 at the Hall of Justice at 10:30 a.m., according to a spokesperson for Myers. Myers previously challenged Gore unsuccessfully for the seat.
In a 2017 interview with East County Magazine, Myers pledged a transparent “top to bottom” review of the department with goals that include restoring community trust, improving diversity, addressing hate crimes, improving response times in rural areas, and restoring the Sheriff’s Facebook page, which was taken down during Gore’s tenure.