Elected in November 2016, Sally Hernandez is currently serving her first term as Sheriff of Travis County, TX; a jurisdiction that encompasses 11,000 square miles, including the state’s capital, and whose current population of 1.2 million is growing at one of the fastest rates in the nation. Uniquely qualified for such a challenging leadership role, Hernandez has worked in law enforcement for 36 years, 31 of which have been in Travis County.
Hernandez began her career in law enforcement in 1981 in Llano, TX as a Night Dispatcher. In 1988, she moved to Austin, TX and served as a Deputy with the Travis County Constable Precinct 3 Office. In 1992, she was hired as a Sergeant Investigator for the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. In 2005, Hernandez advanced to Chief of Investigations and over the next 8 years, she built strong trial teams composed of investigators, prosecutors and victim counselors who sought justice for victims and fervently worked to keep Travis County safe.
In 2013, Hernandez took office as Travis County Constable Precinct 3. She held the distinction of being one of only 25 women to hold such a position out of a total of 750 in the state. During her tenure as Constable, her office was recognized by a number of law enforcement municipalities in her jurisdiction for outstanding service and partnership.
Hernandez took office January 1, 2017. Currently, she holds an even greater distinction as one of only six women who serve as sheriff in the state. She has wasted no time making an impact. Hernandez’s no-nonsense policy on immigration shed light on the issue of ICE Detainer Requests being civil in nature, lacking in probable cause. It launched a national debate that rumbles on in the court system today. Passionate about the plight of mentally ill persons, she has begun working to alleviate the unfortunate trend in county jails of inmates incarcerated as a result of crimes committed solely due to the fact they suffer from mental illness. Hernandez is also in the early stages of a new initiative designed to keep kids in school and out of jail.
A worker by nature, Hernandez prefers the demand of day-to-day leadership challenges over the political spotlight. Despite that humility, she continues to be in high demand by media outlets. Her efforts have earned her the Oscar Mauzy Humanitarian Award from Texas Democratic Women, the Lone Star Victims Advocacy Project’s Advocate Award, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Distinguished Excellence in Government Service Award, the Respect for Law Award from the Greater Southwest Optimist Club of Austin and the Community Service Above Self Award from the Rotary Club of Austin to name a few. She is also a member of many prestigious law enforcement associations including the Sheriff’s Association of Texas, Capital Area Law Enforcement Executive Association, Texas Jail Association, Fraternal Order of Police and FBI-LEEDA.