Chief criminal deputy appointed interim Jefferson County sheriff
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Departing Jefferson County Sheriff Tony Hernandez, left, and his interim replacement, Chief Criminal Deputy Joe Nole, who will be sworn in Friday. —Photos by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A Jefferson County sheriff's deputy with 21 years on the job will serve as acting sheriff beginning Friday when the current sheriff resigns to take a police chief's job.

Chief Criminal Deputy Joe Nole, 58, will take over from Tony Hernandez, 43, who will assume the position of police chief in Milton, a town of 7,000 residents about 8 miles northeast of Tacoma.

“I've been with the department for nearly 14 years, and I've worked with Joe Nole for the whole time,” Hernandez said to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners.

Then the three commissioners unanimously approved Nole's interim appointment.

“Even when I was coming up through the ranks, I looked up to him as one of the guys I wanted to be like,” he said.

Hernandez called Nole “a catch-up guy” who will see problems and implement solutions without needing an invitation.

In his remarks to the board, County Administrator Philip Morley said Nole was familiar with the inner workings of the department, where he had worked on budget, planning and strategic issues.

Nole will be sworn in at a ceremony at noon Friday in the Jefferson County Courthouse's Superior Court chambers at 1820 Jefferson St.

Hernandez expects to attend the ceremony, at which time he will “hand my badge off to Joe.”

Nole will serve either until the Jefferson County Democratic Party nominates a replacement to fill out the remainder of the term or until Nov. 25, when the winner of the Nov. 4 general election is certified.

Since Hernandez ran as a Democrat, the county party is charged with naming three possible candidates to serve out the term, with the commissioners selecting one of those names.

The party may also choose not to submit any names and allow Nole to fill the unexpired term.

There will be no change in pay as Nole will continue to receive his $87,463 salary, which is $2,447 more than the $85,015 earned by Hernandez.

Nole doesn't plan any changes during his tenure, intending to “stay the course” that Hernandez set.

“We'll handle issues as they come up, but I don't expect anything to happen,” Nole said.

“There may be a few internal changes as we wait for the new sheriff to take over.”

Hernandez has worked for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office since 2001.

Sheriff Mike Brasfield promoted him to undersheriff in 2007.

Brasfield resigned in 2009 — two years into his second term — and Hernandez was appointed in 2009 to fill the unexpired term.

At that time, the Democratic Party offered three names: Hernandez, current sheriff's candidate Dave Stanko and Nole.

Nole said he did not run for sheriff this year because “I didn't want to do the politics.”

“If there was a way I could have been appointed I would have done that,” he said.

“There are still a few things that I want to do [as deputy] before I go after something else.”

Hernandez said that he hasn't decided whether to endorse either Stanko or his opponent, Wendy Davis, in the upcoming election.

“I've met with both candidates several times and will continue to talk to them about some of the ins and outs of the sheriff's office,” Hernandez said.

“I think that if I did endorse somebody, there would be a little bit of consideration for it.”

Hernandez said he could make the endorsement after leaving office Friday.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, located in Port Hadlock, is a 55-member department that includes 20 patrol deputies.


Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

Last modified: August 25. 2014 6:32PM
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