Loudoun County's controversial Sheriff Donald L. Lacy, who remained in office despite a special grand jury's call for his resignation last year, has announced he will not seek reelection this fall.

Lacy, 33, who could not be reached for comment, told a Leesburg radio station that he would not seek another four-year term as head of the county's 100-officer force. The sheriff told WAGE he was stepping down because "this time my family must come first."

As of this week, no candidate from either party has formally declared to succeed him.

A former stock clerk and gas station attendant, Lacy became the first Republican sheriff in Loudoun history in 1979 when he upset Democratic incumbent Robert Legard, who had held the job for 16 years.

Though Lacy said his accomplishments included opening a new Sterling Park substation, adding more than 30 officers to his force, and lowering the county crime rate 20 percent since his election, his tenure has been marked by accusations of mismanagement and personal and financial improprieties.

Those accusations--leveled first by members of his own department--sparked a special grand jury investigation. The grand jury eventually cited Lacy for what it found to be misconduct and urged him to resign, but it did not recommend that any criminal charges be filed against him.

The seven-member panel did find, however, that Lacy had misused some county funds, "made a fool of himself" by drinking in public, intimidated members of his own department, helped cover up improper information in a search warrant and agreed to drop criminal charges at the request of friends. Although the jury said it probed "numerous charges of sexual misbehavior" it expressed doubt any could be proven in court.

Lacy denied the allegations, vowed to serve out his four-year term and issued a news release branding efforts to oust him as a "Latin American-style coup d'etat." The sheriff told WAGE that his decision not to run had nothing to do with the grand jury's findings.