Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Kara Davidson
Gazette Reporter 

Sheriff's Sgt.Toni Poffenroth retires after 30-year career


January 24, 2019

Toni Poffenroth

Former Sheriff Steven R. Tomson, Toni Poffenroth and Sheriff Brett Myers at her retirement party from the Whitman County Sheriff's Office. Photo courtesy of Toni Poffenroth.

After 30 years as a corrections officer with the Whitman County Sheriff's Office, Sgt. Toni Poffenroth retired Jan. 16.

"Today I am officially retired!" she said."I thank everyone that has been on this sometimes crazy ride and all of those that are not with us anymore, for without all of you, my journey would not have been possible."

Poffenroth lives in Spokane, where she and her husband raised their family.

Her husband, Harold 'Hal' Poffenroth, was considerably older, and came into their marriage with three grown children, some even older than herself. Together the couple had two more kids. Today, the kids range in age from 34 to 68.

Both Poffenroth and her husband were musicians. She had a bit of a late start in music. She played drums and sang with bands, but with two little kids, one of them had to get a 'real job'.

At first she tried to get a corrections job in Spokane, and while she did well on the written exam, she didn't do so well on the oral exam.

When she heard about another test for a job in Whitman County she applied for practice, but then Sheriff Steve Tomson offered her the corrections job. Her husband and family were supportive, and she took it.

Her husband was born and raised in Endicott, but they never thought either would work in Whitman County.

The position ended up being family-friendly, and she was able to take some time off for her kids.

"My wonderful husband Hal and my mother Sandy were my biggest supporters, and were so proud of my accomplishments, and unfortunately were not here to see it through with me. But I know they were watching," she said.

Toni Poffenroth

Family members, left to right, Lindsee Poffenroth, Cliff Poffenroth, Toni Poffenroth, Bill Poffenroth, Pam Poffenroth, Riley Poffenroth and Doug Holland help Sgt. Poffenroth celebrate her three decades as a correction officer. Photo courtest Toni Poffenroth.

The most difficult part of the job was the commute from Spokane. She kept planning on moving her work back to Spokane, but loved what she was doing and the people she worked with.

"I have been truly blessed to have spent three decades with some of the best men and women in every aspect of our law enforcement community," said Poffenroth, "The people who work there are amazing!"

After she lost her husband a few years ago, she was allowed to stay the night in an extra room so she wouldn't have to make the commute every day.

Poffenroth was born in Baltimore, Md., raised mostly in Hawaii, graduated high school and attended two years of college from Oceanside, Calif., where she studied forestry management.

Poffenroth has been in Washington since 1975.

After retiring, Poffenroth plans to clean house and spend time with grandkids and kids.

"My children always understood that I sometimes couldn't be there for them, they knew what my job entailed and were never resentful, they were proud that there mom was a sergeant with the Whitman County Sheriff's office."


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