Message from the Sheriff of Wallowa County
Wallowa County is a beautiful place to live, work, and play. The Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office strives to provide community service through public safety to support and enrich the quality of life for our citizens and our visitors. The Sheriff’s Office provides professional law enforcement, emergency dispatch, civil service, and concealed handgun license services for our community. We are responsive to your emergency needs 24/7 and look forward to working with you in keeping our community a safe, prosperous and enjoyable place to live.
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Wallowa County Sheriff
Joel Fish has almost twenty-eight years of full-time law enforcement experience. Joel began his career as a police officer with the City of Hickory, North Carolina, in March 1987. Joel enlisted in the U. S. Air Force in 1989 and served as a Security Police Officer. Joel was stationed in Keflavik, Iceland and Bossier City, Louisiana during his time in service. Joel served as a deputy sheriff and detective sergeant for the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office in Statesville, North Carolina prior to joining the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office in 1998. Joel was promoted up through the ranks before obtaining the rank of captain. Joel served at different times as captain of the Criminal Investigation/Narcotics Division, the Patrol Division, and the Community Relations Division, which included court security, crime prevention, and school resource officers. Joel also served as the lead firearms instructor/range master, the Crisis Intervention Team leader, and the Search Team leader.
While working for Catawba County, Joel obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Gardner-Webb University and his Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice/Criminology from Appalachian State University. Joel also worked as an adjunct professor for Gardner-Webb University and as an instructor for Catawba Valley Community College at night.
In May 2016, Joel retired after eighteen years with Catawba County and became the Chief of Police for the City of Enterprise, Oregon. Joel became involved with the school and the community. Citizens of Wallowa County encouraged Joel to run for the Wallowa County Office of Sheriff. In November 2020, Joel was elected as Wallowa County Sheriff and took office on January 4, 2021. Sheriff Fish continues to serve on various boards and committees. He is also working to be more involved with the county schools.
Joel has been married to his wife Cathy for over thirty years. They have a teenage son at home and a daughter who works as a mental health therapist in Charlotte, North Carolina.