New Jefferson County sheriff making changes

Joe Nole seeking new second-in-command

PORT TOWNSEND — The newly elected Sheriff Joe Nole is in the process of making changes at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, with one of his first steps being to begin searching for a new second-in-command.

Nole said earlier this month that he demoted Undersheriff Art Frank to patrol deputy and that he hopes to appoint someone from inside the department to the “number two” position by the end of February as he continues to look over the budget.

Nole declined to say why he made the decision, saying it would be inappropriate to discuss personnel matters.

“That’s the decision I made,” Nole said.

Frank had served as undersheriff since 2017 after having served as chief criminal deputy. He had joined the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in January 2016 as a lateral patrol deputy after 36 years in law enforcement elsewhere. He was reassigned to patrol Jan. 1, he said.

Nole said the second-in-command position could be termed either undersheriff or chief criminal deputy; he hasn’t made a decision yet.

Both positions would fill the same role, he said. The main difference is that a chief criminal deputy does not earn as much as an undersheriff.

He said the 2019 budget calls for the undersheriff to earn $98,332. The chief criminal deputy position is not allocated.

He said patrol deputies earn $78,196.

The department has five appointed positions, three of which are currently filled.

Nole said Dave Fortino will remain the jail superintendent, Trevor Hansen will remain the chief civil deputy and Amanda Hamilton will remain the office manager.

Nole had previously been the county’s undersheriff, but former sheriff Dave Stanko demoted him to detective in 2017 and promoted Frank to undersheriff.

“I do plan on having a number two person,” Nole said. “The way that things worked out with the previous sheriff leaving, I didn’t have a chance to learn about where things stood in the budget.

“I was just thrown in on Jan. 1 and now I’m trying to figure those things out.”

Nole defeated Stanko, the incumbent, in the November general election. After losing the election for what would have been his second term, Stanko then left for vacation and did not help facilitate a transition, Nole said.

“We never saw him again after election night,” Nole said. “He never came back.”

Nole has been with the department for awhile and said that while he doesn’t know everything, he has a good idea of how things work and has been appreciative of support from sergeants and deputies.

“We’re moving forward and getting my office moved, dealing with the onslaught of voice mails and emails,” he said.

Nole, who promised during his campaign to improve morale at the department, said the working environment at his office has already improved.

“Things are moving along and morale is definitely improving. People are happier.”

Nole said that recently he was talking and joking with deputies in the squad room when a detective jokingly said to “knock it off, there’s no laughing allowed here.”

“Before, it was pretty quiet around here,” Nole said. “There seems to be a little more camaraderie.”

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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