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Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Snohomish County sheriff, Kirkland police chief are U.S. marshal finalists

Seattle Times staff reporter

Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart and Kirkland Police Chief Stan Aston are among three finalists for U.S. marshal for the Western District of Washington.

The names of Bart and Aston as well as that of former Clallam County Sheriff Joe Hawe have been submitted to the White House, which will name the new marshal, U.S. Rep Dave Reichert said today. It's unknown when President Bush will announce the appointment.

The new marshal will replace Eric Robertson, who retired last month to become the administrator of the Valley Regional Fire Authority, which serves Auburn, Algona and Pacific. Robertson was named to lead the Western Washington District of the Marshals Service in December 2001.

Bart declined to comment about the position or whether he had been nominated, saying he had been "sworn to secrecy." Aston and Hawe didn't return calls.

The U.S. marshal for the Western District of Washington oversees about 100 government and contract employees from Vancouver to Bellingham, Robertson said. The Marshals Service provides security for federal judges and federal courthouses, transports federal prisoners to court, serves federal arrest warrants and seizes assets from criminals convicted in U.S. District Court. The marshal works closely with the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Attorney's Office; and state and local law enforcement, Robertson said.

King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng interviewed the candidates, who will now be interviewed in Washington, D.C., Reichert said.

Maleng said the White House asked Reichert to spearhead the search. Reichert in turn asked Maleng to handle the selection process locally. Maleng said that about a half-dozen people applied to replace Robertson.

"We really completed our work in the first part of February and had an opportunity to sit down, talk to people, review resumes, then present our work to Congressman Reichert," Maleng said.

Bart had planned to run for Snohomish County executive, but dropped out of the race last month because of family and personal reasons. He has been the county's top cop since 1995 and can't run again because of term limits.

Aston, who has been Kirkland's police chief since September 2000, is retiring on Sept. 1. He was formerly police chief for the city of Pacific and served 30 years with the State Patrol.

Hawe, who retired in 2003 after 13 years as Clallam County sheriff, works for the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs in Olympia in the tactical operations support division. The division maintains maps of schools across the state in case they are needed by law enforcement responding to emergency calls.

"Any one of them will be perfect for the job," Reichert said. "All three of these guys are well-known by local law enforcement."

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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