SHERIFF JUAN HERNANDEZ DIAGNOSED WITH PROGRESSIVE BRAIN DISEASE

SHERIFF JUAN HERNANDEZ DIAGNOSED WITH PROGRESSIVE BRAIN DISEASE

Doña Ana County Sheriff Juan Hernandez has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, an untreatable disease of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. His mental facilities are expected to deteriorate over the next 3-10 years. He is taking medication designed to slow the physical deterioration of the brain, but there is no indication the medication will be effective as a long-term treatment.

Sheriff Hernandez has announced he will resign concurrent with the processing of his retirement papers, possibly as early as Dec. 31. He has volunteered to continue writing grants and to serve as an unpaid consultant for the department after his departure.

Hernandez called stepping aside “a painful personal decision” that he made on the advice of family and physicians. He said stepping aside assures that no deputy in the field could possibly be put in danger by an unsound decision on the part of the Sheriff.

Hernandez, 54, is a 34-year veteran of law enforcement. He was first elected Sheriff in 1998 and re-elected in 2002. Undersheriff Frank Ruiz is running the department on a day-to-day basis until Hernandez’ resignation is final. At that time, the Board of County Commissioners will select a new Sheriff to serve out the remaining two years of Hernandez’ term.

Media requests for more information or interviews will be handled only by the Doña Ana County Public Information Office. The Hernandez family respectfully requests that the media refrain from contacting the family directly, and Undersheriff Ruiz has directed his staff to refer all calls to Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229.