Northwest News

Medal-winning deputy named chief of operations for Pierce County Sheriff’s Department

There’s a new chief in town.

Nick Hausner will start Monday (June 1) as the chief of operations for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, overseeing everything from patrol to special investigations to school resource officers.

“I’m the top administrator for things that aren’t administrative,” Hausner, 48, said with a laugh.

Sheriff Paul Pastor chose him from among nine internal applicants to replace Chief Rick Adamson, who retired.

“I respect his dedication and his ethical sense of leadership,” the sheriff said.

Hausner has steadily risen through the ranks since joining the department in June 1989.

He started as a patrol deputy in Lakewood and worked in South Hill, University Place and with the Mountain Detachment before being promoted to sergeant in 2005. He became a lieutenant last year.

Hausner has been a gang force task member, a computer instructor, a Community Academy facilitator and a member of a strategic planning leadership team. He’s supervised patrol, court security, civil division, and criminal and business systems analysis.

Some would say he’s also a hero.

Hausner survived a gunshot wound to the neck on Dec. 21, 2009, while responding with Deputy Kent Mundell to a domestic violence call at a home near Tanwax Lake. Mundell was killed exchanging gunfire with the suspect.

A member of the household pulled Hausner into a room to keep him safe, but he managed to check on Mundell and summon aid.

For that incident, Hausner was awarded the Washington State Medal of Honor and the department’s Medal of Valor and Medal Lifeline.

“It was obviously a very traumatic incident,” Hausner said. “Kent was not only a deputy on the department but also my friend. It was difficult losing him and difficult being injured.”

Earlier in 2009, Hausner earned the department’s Medal of Lifesaving for helping save two people sleeping inside a burning Eatonville home.

He again made headlines in January 2012 when he and four others attempted a risky rescue of Mount Rainier National Park ranger Margaret Anderson. She suffered mortal wounds after being shot by a man who refused to stop at a winter-tire checkpoint.

The group wedged a bulletproof vest in the windshield of a pickup and a ballistic shield next to the driver’s door and then piled into the back with rifles. They crept up the road and found Anderson’s SUV with the engine still running.

She was inside but dead.

Hausner stood guard in the case the gunman came back while two other deputies pulled her body from the SUV and carried her to the pickup truck.

The department bestowed its Medal of Team Valor award on him for that incident.

Hausner said he loves the job and just wants to help people.

“I’m just happy I can provide and be helpful to people,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.

“You have to learn to understand that when we deal with people. It’s not the best time in their lives and we try to make it better in any way we can.”