Sonoma County Sheriff taps captain for assistant sheriff role

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A Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office captain has been tapped to take over as assistant sheriff of the agency’s law enforcement division following the impending retirement of a veteran commander currently holding the seat.

Capt. Jim Naugle, an 18-year veteran with the Sheriff’s Office who was born and raised in Petaluma, will assume the post on Tuesday, a day after Assistant Sheriff Clint Shubel is set to retire.

Shubel told Sheriff Mark Essick last month he would leave the office after 22 years to pursue a job in construction management.

Shubel was considered a possible successor to former Sheriff Steve Freitas when he announced retirement in 2017. However, Shubel took himself out of the running for the top job at Sonoma County’s largest law enforcement agency and later accepted an offer from then-Interim Sheriff Robert Giordano to serve as assistant sheriff of the law enforcement division.

The post oversees a wide array of administrative duties, including the department’s annual budget, development of Sheriff’s Office policy and delegation of supervisors to special projects. The assistant sheriff also is the first to step in for the sheriff in his or her absence.

Naugle, 44, brings to the post a breadth of experience, Essick said. He was hired as a patrol deputy with the Sheriff’s Office in 2001, three years after he started as a police officer in Novato, the Sheriff’s Office said.

“I was very deliberate in looking inside because I believe building upon our culture, building upon our successes and understanding our weaknesses is really important,” Essick said. “As I started to look inside, it became very clear to me right away that Jim was the right person.”

Naugle was promoted to sergeant in 2010 and lieutenant in 2015, where he worked as a watch commander overseeing several areas, including the Guerneville substation, use-of-force instruction and community oriented policing, the Sheriff’s Office said.

In July, Naugle was promoted to captain of the field services division, putting him in charge of patrol, dispatch and court security operations, among other obligations.

His appointment to assistant sheriff will expand the scope of his work and make him Essick’s go-to guy when a new project or change in the division is needed, Naugle said.

“It’s really teaming up with the sheriff to make sure the law enforcement division is lining up with his vision for the office,” Naugle said of the assistant sheriff job. “It’s huge. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.”

The county did not provide Naugle’s salary information. However, the annual base salary for the assistant sheriff job ranges from roughly $156,200 to almost $190,000, county figures show.

After more than two decades with the Sheriff’s Office, Shubel called the 2017 wildfires the most significant event of his career, a tragedy that displayed the county’s ability to unite and work together, he said.

While fulfilled by his job at the Sheriff’s Office, Shubel, 49, said he’s always wanted to explore a field outside of law enforcement.

He’ll begin his new job at a Sonoma County-based construction company later this month, and his responsibilities will include project management and work safety.

“It’s been an amazing ride,” Shubel said. “I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

Shubel’s annual pension for his time at the Sheriff’s Office will equal roughly 63 percent of his current salary, Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

Shubel’s current annual salary is $189,900, at the top of the pay scale, Sonoma County spokeswoman Jennifer Larocque said.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nashellytweets.

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