SUNBURY - Former Shamokin Police Chief Edward Griffiths didn't stay retired for long.

Griffiths, who retired April 30 after 22 years on the Shamokin police force, began serving as a deputy sheriff in Northumberland County May 12, a 40-hour week position that pays $16.07 per hour.

He replaces James Souder, who resigned in mid-April upon moving to the Harrisburg area.

Griffiths was hired by Sheriff Robert Wolfe, who retired from Shamokin Police Department after approximately 20 years of service.

He joins a staff with a lot of experience in law enforcement.

The 53-year-old Griffiths, who also served as a patrolman, narcotics investigator and corporal in Shamokin, said becoming a deputy sheriff was not something he had planned.

"It really came out of the blue," he said. "A position opened up and Bob (Wolfe) needed somebody to fill it ASAP. So I decided to take it because I wasn't really ready to retire from law enforcement."

Griffiths said several factors contributed to his retirement, including serious financial problems in the city, differences with Mayor William Milbrand and the death of 13-year-old Missy Pangburn, who died in a December fire in the first block of South Rock Street in Shamokin.

The new deputy sheriff said having a wife and 13-year-old daughter at home and a stepson in college influenced him to take the post.

He said the new job is more relaxed because he doesn't have the stress involved in being in charge of a department.

Wolfe, who is serving as acting sheriff and chief deputy until his nomination by Gov. Tom Corbett is officially approved by a majority vote of the state Senate, said Griffiths' experience and friendly personality are "great assets" to his department.

"It was really a no-brainer on my part to hire Ed," Wolfe said. "I know he will stay with the department longer than younger guys who serve as deputy sheriffs for a brief time before moving on to other careers." Since retirees receive pension benefits from their former departments, they are more content to receive lower wages, Wolfe said.

Wolfe, who worked with Griffiths for 18 years on the Shamokin police force before retiring in 2009, has been a deputy sheriff for five years. He also served a brief stint as police chief in New Berlin.

Other staff includes Cpl. Randy Coe and deputy sheriffs Dwayne Pidcoe, Henry Schrader, Brad Harvey and Curtis Cooke. Pidcoe has been with the department for 18 years. Coe, who retired after 38 years of service with the Alachua County Sheriff Department in Gainesville, Fla., has been employed with the Northumberland County Sheriff's Department for seven years. Schrader, who was a patrolman and retired as deputy chief of Coal Township Police Department after 33 years of service, has worked in the sheriff's office for four years. Harvey has been employed for one year after serving two years as a patrolman in Danville. Cooke was hired in April after retiring from the Pennsylvania State Police as a corporal and criminal investigator with 26 years of service.