The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office was the top pick for county Democratic leaders Monday night to load the remainder of Sheriff Gary Simpson’s term, a decision county commissioners will likely make next month.
Sgt. Brandon L. Myers as their best candidate to run the bureau, which oversees the county jail as well as patrols and investigates crimes in unincorporated areas of the county. The office employs approximately 260 people with an annual budget of approximately $43 million.
Brigadier General John Geese, who has served as interim mayor since Simpson’s final day on June 30, came in second, with the previous police sheriff coming in second. Kathy Collings came in third.
Whoever is appointed will have all the powers and duties of the office, but will have to run for election in 2022 to retain the position.
County Commissioner Rob Gilder said the commissioners plan to grip a public meeting on Monday to interview the three candidates and are likely to select the unused mayor on the board on August 3. 9 meetings.
Gilder said he is satisfied with the pace of the operation.
“I don’t see how we could have made this happen any faster,” he said.
Joanna Baxter, the chairwoman of the Kitsap County Democratic Central Committee, said she believed the district committee officers were impressed with the enthusiasm that Myers said he would bring to the office.
“I think they were just excited about youth and ideas,” she said. “Brandon brought a lot of positive things that I think a lot of PCO employees were really interested in hearing.”
The recommendation is just that, Baxter said, assuring that commissioners will accumulate additional information and make the final decision on who gets the job.
The timing of Simpson’s resignation meant that the county would not grip elections to appoint a unused mayor, but instead handed over the decision to the commissioners. Simpson applied for a Democratic position, giving the local Democratic Party the power to draw up a slate of nominees for commissioners.
In a farewell letter addressed to office staff to announce his retirement, Simpson said he wanted Jesse to be placed as mayor by the Commissioners so Jess would have the advantage of holding the office in the upcoming election.
Support for body cameras, but no plan to purchase them
In political situations, all three supported making community communication central to the job and increasing diversity among employees.
The three also supported equipping MPs with body cameras but did not suggest specific ways to pay for them. Now that Bremerton Police are moving forward with the body cam program, the Mayor’s Office and Port Orchard Police will be the only agencies in Kitsap County without them. Police departments in Polsbo, Bainbridge Island, Sukamish and Port Gamble Sclame provide officers with body cameras.
Myers began his career as a 911 employee prior being hired in 2008 as a packed-time deputy. He told Central Committee officers during a forum final week that he wanted to “burst down the barriers of ‘There’s nothing to see here, folks’,” in order to ‘let’s have a conversation and start planning for the coming of the law enforcement format. “
Myers admitted that some may have concerns about his youth, but noted that in the middle of the night, when officials are asleep, he supervises patrol deputies.
Jess has held several positions throughout the mayor’s office, starting with deputy in 1991 and moving up the ranks. In addition to developing office policy and its divisions, he spent six years overseeing day-to-day operations as Simpson’s chief of staff. He told district committee officers that he expected a Republican to run for mayor in 2022 and that it was the Democrats’ best chance of retaining the job.
Jess told Central Committee officials that Simpson did a “terrific” job as mayor and “I’d like to model what he was doing.”
Although Collings retired from the mayor’s office in 2013 as a lieutenant, her resume shows diversity beyond the mayor’s office, having attended law school and worked as a deputy district attorney in Kitsap County prior switching to law enforcement in 1990. Collings ran for sheriff in 1998 While she was a sergeant.
Collings told district committee officials that she had been asked to come forward and said the mayor’s duty was to know the community.
“Police provide a variety of very significant tasks and need to support the people they work for, and that is the sheriff’s job,” she said.
More voter input than usual
It’s been a generation since voters in the Kitsap general election had such a big say in choosing an honorable one, albeit indirectly. This is because the final time a candidate for mayor of Kitsap County was challenged in the general election was in 2002, and all the commissioners who make the decision now were elected over the opponents.
Simpson ran unopposed in his general election. Former Sheriff Steve Boyer ran unopposed in 2010 and 2006.
Of the three district commissioners to choose the next mayor, Democrats Rob Gilder and Charlotte Garrido won following challenging them in the 2020 general election.
Commissioner Ed Wolff, the only Republican on the Board of Commissioners, ran unopposed in the 2018 general election but won his seat in 2014 by challenging the incumbent.
Baxter said she was pleased with the party’s selection of commissioners.
“Any one of those three are just marvelous people in this position,” she said.
This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Democrats Recommend Kitsap Patrol Sergeant