By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“It has always been my goal after I retired to serve in a position like this,” said Ken Przygocki, a Chimacum resident who spent 38 years in law enforcement prior to his 2012 retirement from the Washington State Patrol.
“I live in this community, I know this community and feel it is my call to duty to continue to serve as a peace officer.”
Przygocki, 63, is running as an independent and considered a run for the office in 2010 but was forbidden to do so because he had not yet retired from the State Patrol.
Hernandez said last Saturday that he would not seek a second full term due to family concerns and expressed a desire to move to his hometown of Bremerton.
Przygocki was planning to challenge Hernandez this year and was surprised to hear the sheriff was not going to seek another four-year term.
Hernandez informed Przygocki of his intention to step down prior to making a public announcement, both men said.
The time in between 2010 and now has better prepared him for the job, Przygocki said.
“Over the last few years, I have met with some wonderful people who have given me a sharply focused perspective and a more thorough understanding of the external and internal political forces that influence the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office,” he said.
“I think there are improvements that can be made and I'd like to see a better level of customer service.”
Candidate filing week is May 12-16.
Przygocki said that one of the factors that contributed to his decision was Hernandez' application for the job of Bremerton Police chief last year.
“After that, I got the feeling that his heart wasn't really in the job,” Przygocki said.
“I understand his family issues, but this is the place I really want to be.”
Przygocki worked for the State Patrol for 26 years preceded by 12 years on the Detroit police force.
The sheriff's post pays $85,015 per year for supervising a 55-member department that includes 20 patrol deputies.
He and his wife, Karen, have been married for 34 years and have three sons, two of whom are active duty law enforcement officers.
His youngest son, Brandon Przygocki, is a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy and one of two trained drug recognition officers in the county.
Przygocki said that he has already examined nepotism laws, and said that should he be elected to the office, it would not affect his son's position since he will not be a direct supervisor.
Przygocki is running as an independent and will not affiliate himself with either the Democratic or Republican parties, he said.
“I have a strong belief that this job needs to be neutral and not tied to either party. We are united by a common cause, which is the security and safety of all citizens no matter their political affiliation,” he said.
“I like both parties, I've voted both ways, but for this office I think that people should be able to make up their own mind about who they want to vote for without any party interference.”
Przygocki — pronounced she-GUS-ski — has scheduled a public rally for 6 p.m. May 9 at the Tri-Area Community Center, 10 West Valley Road in Chimacum.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.