SARASOTA COUNTY - A retired deputy announces his candidacy for Sarasota sheriff

Retired deputy Paul Fern, who owns Wings and Weenies, is challenging Chief Deputy Col. Kurt Hoffman for sheriff. The 53-year-old Fern started his law enforcement career as a corrections deputy at the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, moved to Sarasota in 1997 and was in the patrol division when the World Trade Center was attacked. After the attacks, he became a federal air marshal.

Fern filed papers Tuesday to run for sheriff in the 2020 general election. He will challenge Chief Deputy Col. Kurt Hoffman, a current command staff member under Sheriff Tom Knight and the only other candidate.

In, June, Knight announced that he would not seek re-election. He has been sheriff since 2008.