Napa County Sheriff Douglas E. Koford announced Thursday that he will be retiring after five years as the county’s top lawman.
Koford, who was elected sheriff in 2006, will be wrapping up a 40-year career in local law enforcement. He first joined the sheriff’s office in 1972 when he was sworn in as a reserve deputy at age 19.
The Napa native expects to retire April 19 at age 59, the sheriff’s office said.
Koford, who became a regular deputy in 1975 after graduating from Sacramento State University, said he’s ready to retire. “It’s time,” he said Thursday. “It’s been a honor to serve.”
Keith Caldwell, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, praised Koford’s contribution, saying the sheriff’s office has continued to provide a high level of service to Napa County residents.
“I wish him well in retirement,” Caldwell said. “Doug has always worked collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors,” he said.
The Napa County Board of Supervisors will appoint an interim sheriff to complete Koford’s term, Caldwell said.
Koford’s term ends Jan. 5, 2015, said John Tuteur, Napa County registrar of voters.
The primary election is scheduled for June 3, 2014, Tuteur said. If no one wins the sheriff’s job outright in that election, a runoff would be scheduled for Nov. 4, 2014.
During his career, Koford worked a wide range of positions, including narcotics, investigations, K-9 and patrol. Koford also worked three years with the Napa Police Department in the 1980s.
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In 2001, he became American Canyon’s first chief of police, a job he kept for five years until winning his first bid for sheriff.
Being American Canyon’s police chief helped him learn the ins and outs of government and prepared him to become Napa County sheriff, Koford said.
“That was a great place to start,” he said. “It gave me a good foundation to be sheriff ... I have great memories.”
As sheriff, Koford oversees a department of more than 100 sworn officers, 30 professional staff members and an operating budget of about $25 million.
During his tenure, the sheriff’s office developed “fixed rate” contracts to provide law enforcement to the Town of Yountville and the city of American Canyon in part to limit costs and sought grant money to fund a cold case unit and additional funds to monitor registered sex offenders, county officials said.
Koford said he has no immediate plans after he retires, though he intends to continue to stay involved in the community and spend more time with his family. He and his wife of 36 years, Holly, have three grown children — Kelly, Katie and Eric — and three grandsons.
CORRECTION: The original version of this article has been changed to reflect the correct date that Koford's term would have ended.