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SAN DIEGO — San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore will retire next month after 51 years in law enforcement, he announced Wednesday.

Gore, who has served as the county’s Sheriff since 2009, will retire February 3. He announced in July that he would not be seeking reelection for a fourth term.

Gore issued the following statement Wednesday:

“Serving as your Sheriff for the last 12 years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my law enforcement career. I will always be grateful to the residents of this county for their continued confidence and support during my tenure. It has also been my honor to have had the daily support from the extraordinary men and women of this department who sacrifice every day for the citizens of San Diego County.

“Likewise, my wife has made many sacrifices in support of my career, including nine moves around the country and the challenges involved in three county-wide elections. In retirement, I will have the opportunity to give my full attention and support to her as she has done for me during our 43 years of marriage.

“I have been truly blessed to have had a long career in public safety surrounded by some of the finest professionals in this country. I am also grateful for the many friendships I have developed in San Diego and around the country. I look forward to many wonderful years with those friends and my family.”

Undersheriff Kelly Martinez, a candidate for Sheriff in the June election, said Wednesday she won’t seek an appointment when the position becomes available next month.

“The people of San Diego deserve a fair race for Sheriff as well as an appointment process they can trust,” Martinez said in a statement. “I’ll work hard to earn the support of San Diego County voters who want a Sheriff with experience and commitment to public safety.” 

Martinez is the department’s first female Undersheriff and would be the first female Sheriff in the county if elected.