Jefferson County sheriff candidate for Bremerton police chief

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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BREMERTON — Jefferson County Sheriff Tony Hernandez is one of five candidates for Bremerton police chief, city officials said.

Hernandez, 42 , who was born and raised in Bremerton, told the Kitsap Sun that he “would love a chance to return to Bremerton, return home.”

Other finalists are former King County Sheriff Steven Strachan, State Patrol Capts. Robert Johnson and C. Stephen Sutton and former Santa Paula, Calif., Chief Stephen MacKinnon.

The selected candidate will replace Craig Rogers, who will retire in February.

The pay range for the position is between $116,475 to $141,914, according to Director of Financial Services Becky Hasart, who also serves as Bremerton’s human resources director.

All five candidates are scheduled to meet the public during a forum at 6 p.m. Monday at the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 Sixth St., in Bremerton, Hasart said.

On Tuesday, they will have private interview sessions chaired by Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent.

The five candidates will be whittled down to two. Lent will make the selection for chief and a majority of the Bremerton City Council must approve her selection, Hasert said.

Hernandez, who was not available for comment today, was elected in 2010 to a four-year term as sheriff after being appointed in 2009 to fill the unexpired term of Mike Brasfield who retired.

Hernandez joined the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in 2001. Brasfield promoted him to undersheriff in 2007.

Hernandez’ current is salary is $83,965.

In the past, if an elected official left before his term ended, replacement candidates would be named by the Jefferson County political party that nominated that official, and the county commissioners would select a replacement from that field.

But the Top Two primary, in which the two candidates with the most votes go on to the general election, may have changed that because the candidates on the ballot were not there because of a party nomination, said Jefferson County Auditor Donna Eldridge.

“We don’t know how this is going to work,” she said Friday.

Hernandez was elected under the Top Two Primary system, so even though he was nominated by the Jefferson County Democrats, he ran only with a stated preference for that party.

If Bremerton selects Hernandez, then “this office will be calling the Secretary of State’s Office to get a definitive answer if the Democratic Party selects three names for the county commissioners,” Eldridge said.

After a replacement was named, a special election would be called in November to fill the remainder of Hernandez’ term, which expires in 2014.
Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

Last modified: January 25. 2013 4:49PM
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