PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. -- Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor is retiring after more than 18 years with the county.
The 70-year-old was appointed back in 2001 - before it was an elected position - and is the longest-serving sheriff in the county's history. He won his first sheriff's election in 2008.
Pastor's term ends next December, but he plans to leave early, either in January or February. He says part of the reason for that is to alert good and experienced people to start preparing if they want to assume the office.
He says even though he's leaving his role, he isn't leaving law enforcement and will still serve on various state and national law enforcement committees.
"I've been in law enforcement for 40 years. It has been both an accidental and wonderful profession for me to be in," he said. "I didn't plan to do this. I am grateful. I am blessed. I am honored by the opportunity to have done this, and humbled by the kind of effort I see people making and the kind of sacrifices I see them making."
Pierce County council members will appoint someone to replace Pastor until the next election.