Crowd honors Wampler, Brown

Sheriff hands over reins to successor Matt English on Jan. 6

More than 250 people filled the ballroom at Hood River Hotel Thursday to thank Sheriff Joe Wampler and Chief Deputy Jerry Brown, who are both about to retire.

“I could never have asked for a better sheriff and a better person, than Joe Wampler,” said county administrator David Meriwether, who gave men crystal plaques in thanks.

Sheriff-elect Matt English read from the Congressional Record of Dec. 18 honoring Wampler and Brown, submitted by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden of Hood River.

Hood River News will carry details of the event in the Jan. 2 edition.

Brown said that as he and Wampler depart, “we are leaving the department in good hands with Matt and the rest of the crew.”

English presented Brown and Wampler with their retiree badges, and said, “little do they know but they will be receiving their reserve badges in about two weeks.” Wampler will remain part of the search and rescue force he greatly expanded in his tenure, and he and Brown will both be doing occasional patrol shifts in the coming months.

The handover from Wampler to English was also supposed to happen Jan. 1, but Wampler will get to keep his job for an extra six days.

County statute states that the sheriff must be sworn in on the first Monday of January, which falls on Jan. 7.

In order to make sure that the county has a sheriff in the interim, the county commission was tasked with appointing an acting sheriff for those six days at its meeting Monday.

Wampler and Undersheriff Jerry Brown, who is also retiring, were honored Dec. 27 at the Hood River Hotel. The community is welcome to attend.

The commission voted to appoint Wampler as acting sheriff for the first six days of 2013 but not before checking to see whether one of its own was paying attention.

Commissioner Bob Benton opened his motion with “I move we appoint Commissioner Les Perkins,” to raucous laughter from the audience and commission.

“That would have been the best week you’ve had,” commissioner Maui Meyer told Perkins.

Unfortunately for Perkins, Benton then amended his motion to in order to appoint Wampler.

While Wampler may be stepping aside after Jan. 7, his successor said the department still figures to have uses for him.

“He’s going to stick around and help us with search and rescue,” English said. “I’m glad he’s willing to do that; he’ll be a great resource.”

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