Nole sworn in as interim Jefferson County sheriff
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Joe Nole, left, who was sworn in as interim sheriff on Friday, is “pinned” by Tony Hernandez, who resigned the sheriff’s position to work as police chief in Milton. —Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County Chief Criminal Deputy Joe Nole has been sworn in as interim sheriff to complete the term of Tony Hernandez who resigned to take over as Milton’s police chief.

“I want to thank Sheriff Hernandez and the commissioners for having confidence in me,” Nole said after being sworn in Friday by Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper.

“I will only be in for a short time, but a lot can happen in a short time in a Sheriff’s Office.

“I look forward to serving to the best of my abilities.”

Nole, 58, is expected to be in office 89 days.

He is scheduled to step down Nov. 25 when the winner of the Nov. 4 election will be sworn in for the remainder of Hernandez’s term and a four-year elected term.

Neither of the two candidates seeking the job — Democrats Wendy Davis, 47, and Dave Stanko, 66 — was present for the ceremony.

“The county is fortunate to have a man with Detective Nole’s talent, integrity and enthusiasm who is willing to step into this interim position,” Jefferson County Commissioner John Austin said after the ceremony.

About 50 people attended the swearing-in, including family, sheriff’s staff and county employees.

Clallam County Chief Criminal Deputy Ron Cameron arrived too late for the ceremony due to heavy traffic east of Sequim.

After the swearing-in, Hernandez asked the judge’s permission to pin the official sheriff’s badge on Nole.

Harper waved Hernandez in, saying, “You don’t need my permission,” while Nole said, “You need my permission.”

Nole has served with the department for 21 years, working above, alongside and for Hernandez, who joined the department 14 years ago.

In remarks to the county commissioners Monday, Hernandez said that “when I was coming up through the ranks, I looked up to [Nole] as one of the guys I wanted to be like.”

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

Hernandez said Friday that he had not decided whether to endorse a candidate but was “leaning against” making his preference known.

Since Hernandez was elected as a Democrat, the party is charged with selecting three replacement candidates to the county commissioners for a final selection,

Due to the timing, the party may choose to not follow that process and let Nole’s appointment stand, according to party chairman George Yount.

The final decision will be made at a party meeting Sept. 8, Yount said.

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


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

Last modified: August 30. 2014 6:47PM
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