Undersheriff Eileen Bisson, who oversees the county jail and is the No. 2 ranking leader in the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, said Wednesday she will retire at the end of February.
Bisson, 52, became jail chief nine months ago as the department dealt with the city of Tacoma moving its misdemeanor bookings to Fife's jail.
Bisson has spent her entire 30-year career in law enforcement with the Sheriff’s Department, starting as a patrol deputy. As undersheriff for the past six years, she has supervised internal operations.
Her annual salary is $143,000.
“It’s just time to go,” Bisson said Wednesday. “I got my opportunity.”
Now it’s time to give someone else that chance, she said.
Sheriff Paul Pastor said Bisson has been a “tremendous asset” to the Sheriff’s Department.
“She combines professional expertise with strong character and has helped lead and thereby improve this agency,” Pastor said through spokesman Ed Troyer. “She will be greatly missed.”
Bisson said it’s too early to tell what she will pursue after taking early retirement, but it won’t be in law enforcement.
“I am out of law enforcement,” she said. “I will be done.”
Bisson said she qualifies for retirement because she’s worked at least 20 years with the department and is over the age of 50.
She said the Sheriff’s Department is expected to hire a new jail chief by late February or early March.
The Pierce County Council appointed a panel Tuesday -- which includes Bisson as jail chief -- to develop solutions for the jail’s problems.
Troyer said Pastor will appoint a new undersheriff.
Bisson said she told Pastor Monday she was retiring.
“I think it took everybody a little bit by surprise,” Bisson said. “I’m a pretty private person.”