JOE NOLE FOR JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF
I strongly believe in community policing, and I’ve practiced it throughout my career. To me it means creating a network of relationships and trust between the staff and all kinds of people. It means returning phone calls and checking in on people and reaching out to people. It means face to face contact with people in need, and an open-door policy at the Sheriff’s Office where anyone is welcome to come talk to the Sheriff about their concerns. As your Sheriff I will continue to ensure a caring, trustworthy, helpful, and dependable group of deputies and corrections staff that treat others how they would want to be treated and how they would want their loved ones treated.
We must continue with our De-escalation training, which very important in a rural county with limited resources. We need to continue to provide the deputies with the tools they need to resolve the issues they are faced with daily with the lowest level, if any, force necessary. Domestic violence and sexual assault crimes are very concerning too. The victims of these crimes need the most compassionate treatment we can give them, and collecting evidence takes specific skills. We need to continue with our training in this area so we can provide the victims with the service they deserve. As your Sheriff, I will continue to ensure that the steps I have taken to improve our training program will continue and that we will constantly be looking for ways to enhance our service to the community.
MENTAL HEALTH/SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Much of what we deal with in law enforcement is society’s failure to deal with its issues. Many of the people we contact struggle with substance abuse, mental illness, and often both. Often, they do not belong in jail, but need intervention and direction. They need to be accountable for their actions, but we also need to show some understanding and offer assistance where appropriate. As your Sheriff, I will continue to bring more training to the deputies and jail personnel in how to deal with these challenges. And I will continue to raise awareness in the community and maintain my partnership with other agencies to work on addressing these concerns. Behavioral Health Court and Drug Court are just the beginning. My membership on the Discovery Behavioral Health board, Community Health Improvement Plan team, South County Harm Reduction Group, Empowered Teen Coalitions in both Chimacum and South County, and Nurse Family Partnership give me a unique perspective on these issues and helps to inform me when decisions must be made to address these concerns.
When I was elected Sheriff in 2018, I had never seen employee morale so low at the Sheriff’s Office in all my 28 years there. Low morale makes us less effective in performing our duties and serving the public. I am proud to say I raised staff morale from the low level it was at to the heights where it now stands. I provide leadership from the top down. I lead by example. I trust the Sheriff’s Office personnel to do the work they are trained for and have no need to micromanage them. I really listen to and communicate with the staff: what we are doing and why we are doing it. I provide clear direction, clear expectations, and the training and tools to make those expectations a reality. I am blessed with a great staff.
We started to get back to working with the local schools, but then the pandemic hit, and things came to a standstill. In the last year we have begun working closely with the schools and other first responders again, formulating strategies and partnerships in confronting school and community violence. I am excited for this to continue as we move into the future.
Responsible decision making in the use of scarce county tax dollars is a requirement of any public official. I have been prudent with the purchases we have made and have not asked for anything that has not been necessary. Purchases have been well thought out and not made on a whim. My training and experience have allowed me to lead a fiscally responsible agency capable of partnering, and sharing, with the other Jefferson County governmental agencies that we are a part of.
When I was elected, I fully intended on completing the accreditation process for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. But as we all know, all things were affected by the pandemic. Accreditation was not immune from this. The outside agencies and people needed to make this a reality were no longer available. For at least a couple of years we were all in some type of modified working environment that did not allow for in person contact. This was detrimental to accreditation becoming a reality for us. Accreditation is still a priority for me, and The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will become accredited when I am re-elected for another 4-year term.