Former Shamokin officer to take over for resigning sheriff
SUNBURY - Come noon Friday, Jan. 24, a retired Shamokin Police corporal will become Northumberland County's acting sheriff.
Cpl. Robert J. Wolfe on Wednesday was named chief deputy sheriff by current sheriff Chad Reiner, taking the position from the former chief deputy, Randy Coe.
Wolfe is a 20-year veteran of the Shamokin police department, where he reached the rank of corporal before retiring in April 2009.
Since that time, he has worked in the sheriff's office, but also had stints as a part-time police officer in Zerbe Township and as chief of police for New Berlin Borough in Union County.
"At one point, I was working three jobs during my retirement," Wolfe said Wednesday. "I decided I needed to focus on one, and I enjoyed working for Chad in the sheriff's office, so that was the one I picked."
The decision to name Wolfe over Coe was made with political party affiliation in mind. Reiner and Wolfe are Democrats; Coe is a Republican.
While Wolfe, the senior Democrat in the sheriff's office, becomes acting sheriff, it will be the state's highest office and Legislature that will name Reiner's replacement.
As was done in 2005, when Reiner first got the job, the governor has 90 days from the day the resignation takes effect to appoint a nominee for the office.
According to Ron Ruman, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of State, the governor will be asking for recommendations.
"The governor will probably be speaking to elected officials, legislators and law enforcement officials to decide who will be the best person for the job," Ruman said.
After an appointment is made, the nominee must be approved by majority vote of the state Senate.
When Reiner was named as the nominee for sheriff in 2004, the Senate approved him unanimously.
The appointed sheriff will serve for the rest of Reiner's term, which ends on the first Monday in January 2016. If the nominee wants to stay in the job, he must run for election in 2015.
One member of the sheriff's office that will not be staying on through the transition is its K-9 member, Clark.
A full-fledged member of the department, Clark, a German Shepherd, accompanied Reiner on drug searches and warrant services.
In 2011, Reiner said Clark helped remove $265,000 in illegal narcotics from county streets in a two-year period.
"Clark will turn eight on May 1, and he has been having some health issues recently," Reiner said Wednesday. "The recommendation was made that he be retired, so I retired him on Monday."
Reiner said, per tradition with K-9s and their handlers, he purchased him from the county for $1.