Sheriff John Nowels has been with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office for over 24 years. He was elected Sheriff on November 8, 2022, and he began serving as Spokane County Sheriff on January 1, 2023.
Sheriff Nowels graduated from Eastern Washington University in 1996 with a BA in Criminal Justice. In 2019, he earned a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Oklahoma. Sheriff Nowels also attended and graduated from the 265th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, in September 2016. While at the FBI National Academy, he completed master’s level leadership courses from the University of Virginia.
Sheriff Nowels currently holds positions on the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Spokane County Behavioral Health Advisory Board, the Washington State Children’s Justice Task Force, the Partners with Families and Children Board, and the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Board.
Sheriff Nowels began his law enforcement career in the Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division in 1998. He served as a patrol deputy until 2001, when he joined the Traffic Unit. As a member of the Traffic Unit, Sheriff Nowels became a Technical Collision Investigator, investigating fatality and serious injury collisions. In 2004, he was promoted to the rank of Detective and worked in the Spokane Valley Property Crimes Unit. In 2005, he was assigned to the Investigative Support Unit to investigate narcotics cases.
In 2008, Sheriff Nowels was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and, since then, has held every promotional position in the Sheriff's Office, including Undersheriff. During this time, he has worked with and supervised personnel in every division of the Sheriff’s Office, with significant time spent serving in the Investigative Division as a Lieutenant, Chief Criminal Deputy, Inspector, and Undersheriff.