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Pierce County sheriff announces retirement after 19 years

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor, right, stands outside a Pierce County Superior courtroom in May 2019 following an appearance by a teen suspected in a robbery and murder of a 79-year-old convenience store owner.
Ted S. Warren
/
The Associated Press
Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor, right, stands outside a Pierce County Superior courtroom in May 2019 following an appearance by a teen suspected in a robbery and murder of a 79-year-old convenience store owner.

Washington’s second largest county is about to get a new sheriff for the first time in two decades. Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor announced last week that he will retire at the beginning of 2020. 

Pastor is the longest-serving sheriff in county history, according to The News Tribune, after 19 years running the department. 

“I’m going to take a deep breath,” he told the newspaper Friday. “I’m not done being involved in law enforcement.” 

County Council members will appoint a temporary replacement for the remainder of Pastor’s term, which ends December of next year. May 2020 is the filing deadline for candidates looking to run for the open seat.  

Pastor became sheriff in 2001, back when the county appointed its top law enforcement officer. After Pierce County returned to a system of electing sheriffs, Pastor was elected in 2008; he ran unopposed his last two terms. 

Pastor told the newspaper he expects to leave the office in January or February. He doesn't plan to endorse a replacement. 

Kari Plog is an award-winning reporter covering the South Sound, including Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties. Before transitioning to public radio in 2018, Kari worked as a print journalist at The News Tribune in Tacoma.

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