After spending 25 years working for the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, Lt. Steve Albarado took on the department's role as chief deputy at the start of 2019.

Formerly filled by Jason Mathys, now the county's administrative coordinator, the chief deputy assists Sheriff Nancy Hove in almost all of the administrative duties. Albarado was picked out of four internal candidates and will now be mostly building budgets and policies, rather than fieldwork.

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"This was a position that nobody saw on the radar a few months ago," he said, referencing Matthys' somewhat surprising decision to leave the office. "It always feels good to be promoted."

Albarado said he's worked in many different aspects of the office - from D.A.R.E. officer, to dispatch, supervising the jail and dispatch centers and others. The new administrative-focused role is something he's looking forward to and he's already started looking ahead to the office's 2020 budget, he said

"I'm really not going to miss the daily grind of [former positions], but I still like to get out there and get in the field," Albarado said. "I'm ready for the challenge [of chief deputy.]"

Before he was named chief deputy, Albarado had been mulling a run for sheriff if Hove decided to not run again in four years. But now he said he's focused on his new position.

"I feel that the position of chief deputy needs longevity and consistency," Albarado said. "My drive is to be here and work hard in this office."

Albarado started working in the county's sheriff office in 1994. The lifelong Ellsworth area native said it was his first full-time department.

Matthys had been working both as the county's interim administrative coordinator and chief deputy since March 2018, before he officially started in his full county role on Jan. 1.

"Jason did a wonderful job with us," Hove said. "I wish him well with his new venture."