PUBLIC SAFETY

Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast to retire June 30

Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast announced his retirement after a three decade career in law enforcement.

He announced the retirement publicly in a news release Thursday afternoon, saying he informed employees at the Sheriff’s Office and the Marion County Board of Commissioners Wednesday.

As sheriff, Kast oversaw law enforcement for over 300,000 people in the area, and headed the county’s parole and probation division, jail and transition center during a period he described as a “very interesting time” in a statement.

“We worked through many ‘normal’ incidents in our profession, but also through 4 declared emergency situations including incredible fires, a heat storm, and an ice storm.  Each of these declared emergency situations was unique, but they also happened under the umbrella of the pandemic too,” he said.

His retirement will be effective June 30.

Kast has worked in law enforcement for over 31 years. The majority of his career was spent in Marion county, where he served as enforcement commander before becoming sheriff in 2019. He was appointed to the role following the retirement of former Sheriff Jason Myers.

Kast then ran for the position unopposed in 2020, and was elected to a four year term.

A U.S. Air Force veteran, Kast served in the Gulf War from 1990 to 1991.

The Marion County Board of Commissioners will begin the process of appointing a successor to complete Kast’s term, which ends on Dec. 31 2024. The Sheriff’s Office said it will release further details about the selection process on Friday.

“I am going to miss this job and profession, but mostly I will miss the women and men of the Sheriff’s Office and their dedication to serving our community,” Kast said. 

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.