Executive Staff

Sheriff John Gese

Sheriff John GeseSheriff John Gese is a native of Seattle, Washington. He graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology in 1983.

Gese began his career at the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office as a Patrol Deputy in 1991 after working for several years in the insurance industry. He served as a Patrol Deputy for four years before transferring to the Traffic Unit in 1996, where he was a certified technical collision investigator.

In 2000, Gese was promoted to Sergeant and returned to the Patrol Division where he was a Patrol Supervisor. Gese also supervised the Support Services and Civil Division and the Office of Professional Standards.

Gese was promoted to Lieutenant in 2004 and returned to the Patrol Division as a manager before transferring again to manage the Support Services and Civil Division in 2010.

In July 2014, Gese was selected by Sheriff Steve Boyer to lead the Patrol Division as Patrol Chief. He remained in this role until 2015 when he was selected by Sheriff Gary Simpson to be his Undersheriff. Gese remained in this position until his official swearing-in on Monday, August 30, 2021.  Gese was officially elected Sheriff in November 2022.

Gese graduated from Leadership Kitsap in 2004 and graduated from the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety in 2017.

Gese has a long history of community service:  Port Orchard Rotary, Kitsap County Chapter of the Red Cross, and Leadership Kitsap

Undersheriff Russ Clithero

Undersheriff Russ ClitheroRuss Clithero is a native of Yakima, Washington. He graduated from Eastern Washington University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management. Clithero began his career at KCSO in 1994 after having worked for two years as a Patrol Officer for the Wapato Police Department (near Yakima). He served as a Patrol Deputy and Traffic Investigations Deputy before being promoted to Patrol Sergeant in 2004. In 2013 Clithero was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to the Patrol Division. As a lieutenant, he supervised many different projects and programs including training and the traffic unit in addition to being SWAT commander. In 2021 Clithero was appointed as Chief of Detectives and Support Services. As Chief, he was responsible for a significant re-organization of the division including the establishment of the Professional Standards Unit which has the responsibility for agency training, background investigations, and the Office of Professional Standards. Clithero has also played a lead role in the KCIRT multi-agency investigation team.  Clithero was appointed to Undersheriff in December 2022.

Clithero has served as a Field Training Officer, Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) instructor, SWAT Team Operator, Marksman, and Team Commander. Clithero graduated in 2018 from the 272nd Session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA. He is also a 2015 graduate of Leadership Kitsap.

Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Menge

Chief Jeffrey MengeChief Jeffrey Menge is a native of Medford, Oregon. He graduated from Southern Oregon University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and earned his Juris Doctor in 1999 from the Seattle University School of Law.

Menge began his career in law enforcement at KCSO in 2003 after a three-year stint as a Deputy Prosecutor with the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office.

Menge served as a Patrol Deputy for 9 years before being promoted to Sergeant in 2012. He was a Patrol Sergeant until 2016, at which time he was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to manage the Civil and Support Services Divisions as well as the Office of Professional Standards.  Menge was Acting Chief of Support Services from September 2020 until his appointment as Chief of Patrol in January 2021.

During his career, Menge has served in the Marine Patrol, Special Investigative Unit Knock and Talk team, and as a hearing examiner for the cities of Bremerton and Poulsbo. He also led several key projects including the Lexipol Policy Manual implementation and the current project of replacing our multi-agency records management system. As a Lieutenant, Menge headed KCSO’s Peer Support group and the Wellness committee and was the agency’s Accreditation Manager. He remains a peer supporter and member of the Wellness Committee.  Menge is a graduate of Leadership Kitsap and currently sits on its board of directors. 

Chief of Corrections Penelope Sapp 

Chief Penelope SappChief Penelope Sapp hails originally from Covina, California. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from Chapman University in 2007 and a Master's in Justice Administration from Norwich University in 2009.  She is currently completing her dissertation for a Doctor of Philosophy in Law and Public Policy at Walden University.

Sapp began her career at KCSO as a Corrections Officer in October 2002. She was promoted to Sergeant in 2007 and assigned to Jail Operations and Training as a first-line supervisor.  In 2014, she was promoted to Lieutenant and returned to manage jail operations before being assigned as the support Lieutenant.  Sapp was appointed Chief of Corrections in May of 2021.

During her tenure as support Lieutenant, Sapp focused on re-entry services (including Medical Assisted Treatment or "MAT"), to help those incarcerated to transition into the community more successfully.

In 2017, Sapp was selected by Governor Jay Inslee to be a Commissioner for the Washington State Criminal Justice Commission where she assists in developing high standards and exceptional training for the law enforcement personnel that work in Washington State.

In 2004, she established a non-profit organization, "Kitsap Shop with a Cop", which she continues to champion and serve as a board member. "Shop with a Cop" provides 120-plus underprivileged children in the local community with a budget and "police escort" to go Christmas Shopping every year. 

In 2016, Chief Sapp headed a team that succeeded in getting a portion of State Highway 16 renamed in honor of fallen Washington State Patrol Trooper Tony Radulescu.

She currently sits on the board for the Kitsap Fair and Stampede and formerly served on the board at the Kitsap Sexual Assault Center.  She is the Community Service Chair for the Port Orchard Rotary.

Sapp was selected as the "Corrections Officer of the Year" in 2004 and has received numerous awards, including a "Distinguished and Devoted Service Award" in 2017.

Chief of Detectives and Support Services Chad Birkenfeld

Chief Chad BirkenfeldChad Birkenfeld is a lifelong resident of Kitsap County and a 1990 Graduate of Olympic High School. Chad graduated from Olympic College in 1992, then transferred to Central Washington University, where he graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Justice.

During Chad’s time in school, he was a Kitsap County Sheriff’s Explorer, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy, and Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy. Chad was hired fulltime

as a Deputy Sheriff for the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office in 1996 where he patrolled from Vantage to Snoqualmie pass and the Yakima Canyon to Blewitt Pass. In 1998, Chad and his family returned to Kitsap County and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. Chad worked as a patrol deputy from 1998 to 2002. During his time in Patrol, Chad taught at the Criminal Justice Training Center assisting student officers with defensive tactics. Chad became a Field Training Officer and assisted the Sheriff’s Office with training new deputies.

Chad went on to get certified as a SWAT operator, Police Marksman, firearms instructor, peer support, and specialized instructor for defensive tactics. Chad was selected as deputy of the year in 2000 and 2011. Chad has received numerous agency and community awards. Chad is a recipient of the Sheriff’s award for professional excellence. From 2002 until the present, Chad has been assigned to the Detective Division. Chad was promoted to Detective Sergeant in 2016 and later promoted to Detective Lieutenant in 2021.

Chad is a 2019 graduate of Leadership Kitsap and completed the FBI LEEDA trilogy in 2022. The trilogy is comprised of the Supervisor Leadership Institute, Command Leadership Institute, and Executive Level Institute. Chad is certified by the Criminal Justice Training Commission as an Independent Investigative Team lead investigator for use-of-force incidents and currently holds the role of the Kitsap Critical Incident Response Team Co-Administrator.


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