Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak has announced he won't be seeking re-election this year.
In Santa Cruz Thursday afternoon, Wowak told reporters he plans to step down at the end of the year after 32 years in law enforcement. His current term ends in December.
Wowak said it was the most difficult day he's had in his career and choked up several times as he read a prepared statement announcing his retirement.
"Frankly, running for office with the intent of leaving mid-term is against my beliefs, and I can not in good conscience make a commitment I won't keep," Wowak said.
He's endorsing Chief Deputy Jim Hart as his replacement in this year's election.