Lincoln County Sheriff will not run for re-election

By Matthew O. Stephens

LINCOLN COUNTY – After working a law enforcement career spanning 32 years and serving four terms as Lincoln County Sheriff, Wade W. Magers has chosen to opt out of running for a fifth term.

Magers was first elected as the Sheriff of Lincoln County in 2006, and has operated in that capacity having been re-elected through four terms. According to a recent news release Magers is one of the longest working Sheriffs in Washington, and is the longest serving law enforcement officer in the county’s history.
“I can’t thank my team enough for all their hard work and dedication,” Magers said in the release. “I know our county is in great hands with our next generation of public servants, who will keep Lincoln County one of the safest places to live in the country.”

“It’s been a good run and I’ve really enjoyed working for the sheriff’s office,” Magers said during a recent interview. “It’s been a great opportunity to serve the citizens of Lincoln County, and work with so many different people over the past 32 years.”

Lincoln County Sheriff, Wade W. Magers

Throughout his career, Magers has served in a number of capacities. He was initially hired in 1990 as a patrol deputy with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, but also worked as an investigator, detective, marine enforcement deputy and firearms instructor at various points during his years of service. Magers was promoted to Undersheriff in 1999 and served as such until he was elected as Sheriff.

Magers started school in Odessa, Washington in the 1970’s when his father John Magers was working as the school principal, so he always felt the hometown connection that runs through the veins of rural communities.

“We have eight different municipalities within the county,” Magers said. “It’s just been a great place to raise kids and just be involved in the community in general.”

“We have great people in our small communities, and our schools are so involved with our towns,” the Sheriff added. “Which is really important because the schools are the lifeblood of our communities. Families really depend on our school districts for our kids to be successful, and it’s been nice to see that.”
According to Magers he has also lived in various cities in Lincoln County, starting with the town of Sprague when he was hired as a patrol deputy in 1990. In 1995 he moved to Wilbur, where he continued to work for a few years as a patrol deputy, but was then promoted to second command undersheriff.
As Magers progressed into different roles in the Sheriff’s Office, he was able to oversee a lot of advancement that came with the addition of newer technologies.

“I have enjoyed seeing our office grow and improve in so many areas over the last 32 years,” Magers wrote in his news release. “I am proud of the accomplishments we have made in technology, which is necessary to assist dispatch, corrections and road deputies to safely, efficiently and effectively perform their duties. It has been difficult at times, from a budget standpoint, due to the limited funding in our rural county.”

According to the Sheriff, a lot of hard work went into allocating extra resources through outlets such as grants and implementing service contracts between jails.

“Under my tenure we brought in over three million dollars in revenue through these contracts.” Magers said.

The Sheriff also explained that budgeting things for the office year to year has been and continues to be the biggest challenge. Being on a limited budget has also impacted the office’s ability to draw in and retain staff, and COVID exacerbated that problem further. Magers described that in many cases, officers will end up going to a bigger municipality because they have the ability to offer higher pay, but that some of the budget issues have been offset by grants.

“We have worked hard securing grants, contracting jail services, streamlining duties and we have found other revenue sources to fund needed equipment, hardware, software, and safety gear,” he said in the press release. “Just this past year, we have been awarded grants to fund new body cameras, tasers, and other non-lethal devices. We have replaced an aging 9-1-1 phone system, the Law and EMS radio system in dispatch, implemented Text-2-911, and purchased a digital fingerprint machine for the jail.”

According to Magers, the 9-1-1 improvements, and the implementation of body cams are some of the projects he is most proud of looking back, as these improvements have proven to be some of the most valuable for employees of the Sheriff’s Office.

“All these projects required very little funding from the county and have been newly purchased in the past 12 months,” he added. “This would not be possible without a great administrative team. I can say I have a great command staff with extensive experience and leadership who have helped me succeed.”

The Sheriff also sent out recognition to many of the people and groups the Sheriff’s Office partners with, as many of the responsibilities that are carried out would not be possible without those partnerships according to Magers.

“I would like to thank our Lincoln County citizens, Lincoln County elected officials, and most of all the Lincoln County Corrections-Dispatch and Road Deputies for all of their support throughout my career,” the Sheriff wrote. “They are the true heroes, and I will miss each and every one of them.”

“After a 32-year career, it is time for me to step down as your Sheriff and let the next generation take us into the future,” said Magers in closing his news release. “As I complete my Law Enforcement career, I ask you to support our men and women in Law Enforcement. It is time to support one another and make our county the best it can be.”

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