Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak will not be running for another term in office, he has announced.
The sheriff, who has spent more than two decades in law enforcement, will remain in office through the end of the year.
"Sheriff Wowak will complete his current term of office which will end in December and mark 32 years in his local law enforcement career," Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Kennedy said.
The sheriff held a press conference Thursday afternoon at the board of supervisors' chambers to make his announcement.
Here is a copy of the speech he gave:
After a long and emotional deliberation, I have decided that I will not seek re-election for the office of Sheriff-Coroner in the coming election. I will complete my current term and, December 2014 will mark the end of my 32 year career in Santa Cruz law enforcement.
I would have loved to run for office again but I know in my heart I would not complete another full term. I struggled with the temptation of having my successor appointed to office a few years from now however, our democratic system is designed for its citizens to elect their Sheriff, not appoint one through political channels. Frankly, running for office with the intent of leaving mid-term goes against my beliefs and I cannot in good conscience make a commitment I won’t keep.
I am committed to the continuity of leadership of the Sheriff’s Office and feel it is vital to the health of our organization and the community we serve. That is why I will give my full support to Chief Deputy Jim Hart who will soon announce his bid for the office of Sheriff-Coroner. I have prepared Chief Hart for this position; he is extremely capable and, I am certain he will gain the confidence of the voters in the 2014 election. The people of Santa Cruz County want the Sheriff’s Office to continue to make great advancements in public safety, they want a voice in selecting the leader of this organization and, in doing so I am confident they will overwhelmingly choose Jim Hart as our Sheriff.
I have been honored to be the 25th person to serve as Sheriff of Santa Cruz County and gaining the trust of our staff and the citizens of Santa Cruz over nearly six years as Sheriff has truly been a privilege. The decision to leave law enforcement has been a difficult one but, the time is right for me to step down. I will retire from this office knowing we have had numerous accomplishments and I am confident the Sheriff’s Office will continue moving forward in a positive manner under the leadership of Chief Hart.
I want to thank the members of our community for allowing me to serve as their Sheriff and, the men and women of our office for giving their very best in serving the citizens of Santa Cruz every day. Finally, I want to express my thanks and love to my wife Christina who has stood by my side my entire career, supporting me every step of the way and to my son, Kyle, for his respect, support and understanding of what it means to be in public service.