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San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore retires with mixed legacy

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore retires with mixed legacy
Posted at 4:44 PM, Feb 03, 2022

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Thursday marked the last day of the tenure of Sheriff Bill Gore, who retires with a mixed legacy.

Sheriff's officials say there was no big sendoff for sheriff Gore on his last day, nine months earlier than expected. In announcing his earlier retirement last month, he spoke of devoting more time to his wife.

Gore has been a force in local law enforcement for more than 12 years. During his time, he's credited with leading the creation of the department's sex crimes investigation unit and cold case forensic team.

RELATED: San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore retiring in February

His tenure was marked by headlines. In 2010, his department led the investigation into John Gardner, convicted of killing teens, Chelsea King and Amber Dubois.

In 2011 the body of Rebecca Zahau was found nude, bound and hanging at a Coronado mansion. His department's probe and review of the original finding determined that the cause of death—debated by many to this day—was suicide.

Gore's time was also marred by deputy misconduct. In 2019, former deputy Richard Fischer pleaded guilty, after he was accused of assaulting 16 women while on duty.

Gore also faced criticism over his department's handling of inmates. San Diego County has the highest jail mortality rate among California's largest counties. Critics have also pointed to studies that found sheriff's deputies stop, search and use force against people of color at higher rates than white people.

As Gore leaves, the County Board of Supervisors will determine in the next weeks, how the become interim sheriff will be chose. An appointment could come in March.

Before the interim sheriff take over, the acting sheriff is Undersheriff Kelly Martinez.

She has announced her intentions to run for sheriff in November, in a bid that could make her the county's first female sheriff.