Merced County Sheriff to get new job in Sacramento

FRESNO, Calif.

Pazin said it was not an easy decision to leave, but felt it was the right decision.

For more than 10 years Mark Pazin has been the face of the Merced County Sheriff's Department. On Tuesday he announced he would be passing the torch.

"It was a very agonizing decision, it's not one that I took lightly," Pazin said.

Pazin is leaving for the state capital to head California's law enforcement branch. He will be working with sheriffs and police chiefs around the state providing guidance and resources as they need it.

Pazin says the decision is bittersweet, but he takes great pride that he's leaving the department with more resources than when he stepped on as sheriff.

"Prior to taking office we were a very basic agency as far I was concerned, at this point and time we have a very basic air squadron, two helicopters, two fixed wings and we assist other agencies," Pazin said.

Pazin has nearly a year left on his term.

Voters will decide on a future sheriff in the 2014 November election.

Until then, County Supervisor John Pedrozo said the board will likely discuss how to fill Pazin's position at their Tuesday meeting.

Rather than holding a special election Pedrozo thinks it would be wiser to appoint undersheriff, Tom Cavallero, in the interim.

"I think you just keep the department intact, you just leave it as it is, and let the under-sheriff deal with the day to day activity as he and the sheriff have been doing in the past few years," said John Pedrozo, Merced County Supervisor.

Whoever the future Merced County Sheriff maybe, Pazin said they will face some of the same challenges he did, including getting a new jail and balancing a budget.

"I feel a little melancholy about it, of course I grew up in Merced, going to the FBI Academy and school, lived here and but it's not like going half way across the world, I'll be two hours away," Pazin said

Pazin's last day as sheriff will be Dec. 31. He will start his new job January 2nd.

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