David J. Bernal, the Republican candidate for Sheriff of Jackson County is a native of Kansas City, MO. He has been a resident of Jackson County his entire life with the exception of 12 years when he lived out of state as a Special Agent with the FBI. He is an American of Mexican descent and is 67 years old
Mr. Bernal graduated from Rockhurst College (now Rockhurst University) in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. He has approximately 37 years of full time law enforcement experience, the first 13 years as a police officer with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, and the remaining 24 years as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
During his years with the KCMO police department he served as a Patrol Officer, Community Relations Officer, Public Information Officer, Internal Affairs Investigator and in the Administrative Analysis Division, Planning and Research. In 1980 he was awarded a Distinguished Service medal from the KCMO police department and in 1981 he received a Silver Award for Valor from the Metropolitan Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Association.
During his first twelve years with the FBI he was assigned to an FBI Resident Agency (RA) Office. An RA is a satellite office of an FBI Division Headquarters City. His RA was staffed by three special agents. Though attached to Headquarters City, the RA agents were the ones primarily responsible for providing assistance and liaison activity within their assigned ten counties, located in the state. This involved liaison activity with multiple county sheriff’s departments and local police departments.
The FBI is responsible for investigating over 240 different federal violations. Due to his assignment in an RA office, it was imperative that Mr. Bernal’s knowledge base be extremely extensive, since the RA agents investigated any federal violation that presented itself within their ten county regions.
While a special agent with the Bureau, some of the ancillary duties he performed were Hostage Negotiator, New Agent Assessor, Spanish speaker, Evidence Response Team (ERT) member, Co-leader Drug Task Force, and Relief Supervisor.
He was a member of an Evidence Response Team sent to the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing and also the 9-11 bombing of the World Trade Center. He was assigned to provide planning and security at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia and the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2006, he volunteered and was sent to the country of Afghanistan in the effort against terrorism. Mr. Bernal received numerous Letters of Commendation both as a police officer and as a special agent for his exemplary work ethic.
He is very proud of his law enforcement experiences and truly considers it a privilege to serve his community and his country.
Mr. Bernal has been married to his wife Stephenie for nearly 39 years. They have five wonderful children, two amazing daughter in laws, and three precious grandchildren.
Since retirement from the FBI he has worked as a private investigator and government contractor. He has also been active in his community as a hospice volunteer for nearly five years. He acted as chairperson of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, Kansas City area chapter for the past six years, being voted into the position by the membership three times. During his tenure as chairman, the KCMO chapter held a historical regional conference, attended by hundreds of retired Special Agents and their dependents, which he coordinated and oversaw.
He is an outsider to politics other than acting as a dedicated volunteer for a congressional candidate. Mr. Bernal offered the following statement regarding his decision to run for Sheriff of Jackson County:
“Despite being retired these last few years, I’ve decided to run for Jackson County Sheriff because I firmly believe that the citizens of our county deserve better than what we’ve been given the last several years. I was greatly dismayed upon hearing of the distressing circumstances surrounding the resignation of the previous sheriff. My greatest priority upon taking office will be to work tirelessly to return respect and dignity to the Sheriff’s office. I also intend to work to improve morale through professional leadership, and to increase diversity in hiring. I will restore transparency through an open door policy, and strengthen community relationships through community policing and liaison efforts. I have a tremendous work ethic and a desire to serve because I truly care about our community. I intend to serve all the citizens of Jackson County in a nonpartisan manner, acting with integrity in enforcing the laws of the land. I have the experience, ability, passion, and commitment to be the sheriff that the citizens of Jackson County need and deserve!”