Law Enforcement Priorities
Maintain High Level Interagency Relationships
While smart, effective professionals abound at your Sheriff’s Office, no agency can truly go it alone which is why I developed interagency relationships at the highest levels over many years. Whether it’s a neighboring police chief, the United States Attorney for Oregon, the Oregon State Police Superintendent, the United States Marshal for Oregon, or a neighboring county sheriff, I have been fortunate to build close, trusting relationships. These relationships are one reason why we are fortunate to have FBI participation on our negotiations team and narcotics team, and why we work closely with the United States Marshal Service to serve arrest warrants on high-risk fugitives in our community.
Strong Investigations of Major Crimes
We assign experienced deputies who demonstrate a high aptitude for investigations to our Investigations Division as a permanent assignment. Our Violent Crimes Unit focuses on solving cases to include homicide, serious assaults and sex crimes. These award-winning detectives also work child abuse cases; an important part of protecting vulnerable communities and holding serious offenders accountable.
I’ve long said our Jail professionals are our unsung heroes in fighting crime. They are knowledgeable about offenders and information gained in Jail is proven to both prevent and solve crime. Today, our Jail is too small for our county, forcing us to release some inmates early due to overcrowding. I am focused on a justice system master planning process with county leaders which includes expanding our Jail and adding staff.
Traffic safety is a critical part of community safety. Reinforced by the good work of patrol deputies, our Traffic Enforcement Team focuses enforcement on our most crash prone roads and intersections. They respond to community requests for extra enforcement and work hard for safe roads by arresting almost 1,000 intoxicated drivers every year. Their work earned us three of the six most recent Sheriff’s Office “Agency of The Year” awards, presented at the annual Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) Multi-Disciplinary Training Conference of Oregon.
Combating Domestic Violence
I remain committed to protecting domestic violence (DV) survivors and holding abusers accountable because doing so helps safeguard a vulnerable population, saves lives and families. I continue to strongly support our Domestic Violence Resource Team who actively investigates DV cases every day, our membership to the Domestic Violence Intervention Council, and periodic warrant sweeps to arrest persons wanted for domestic violence crimes. I am extremely thankful to Washington County and all our cities for financially supporting our Family Justice Center – a safe place where survivors can get a wide range of assistance and protection. I will equally support the Domestic Violence Resource Center where caring advocates help survivors find a new tomorrow through education, safety planning, housing and more.
My support to interagency gang enforcement efforts continue to prevent Washington County from becoming a base for large scale gang activity. Gang investigators are co-located with our Violent Crime Unit detectives because gang crimes are violent crimes. When gang violence happens, our investigators work with interagency partners to solve gang crime, bolstered by Jail intelligence, patrol assistance, and a committed District Attorney’s Office to hold criminal gang offenders accountable.
Reduce Drug Trafficking
According the Oregon Health Authority, Methamphetamine is the leading cause of drug-related deaths in Oregon. Our close partner, The Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program reports meth and other dangerous illegal drugs are supplied by international drug trafficking organizations. These criminal organizations poison our community, bring violence, and promote human trafficking and prostitution. This is why I ensure our narcotics task force is adequately trained and equipped because the interagency team is the key to successfully combat cartels and their distributors. My support includes ensuring Task Force investigators are well led and networked so they can respond fast to a developing case, or bring a supplier to justice soon after an overdose death.
When investigators develop knowledge a known, active criminal is victimizing our community (burglaries, car thefts, fraud, etc.) our Criminal Apprehension Team focuses on their safe apprehension. They work closely with the United States Marshal Service to serve high-risk arrest warrants, and partner with city police to conduct sex offender compliance checks.
This year and into the future we must make the most of Washington County’s first Public Safety Training Center. Opening in mid-July, this world-class Center will enhance local training for all our emergency responders in Washington County. The Center provides realistic settings for enforcement and jail deputy training so everyone can improve their officer-safety skills and sharpen their professional edge. Training for first-responders which is frequent, of excellent caliber, at a reliable venue and standardized across agencies is important to serve you well and remain the safest major urban county in the state. I am extremely grateful to our commissioners for making a reliable, top tier training center a reality.
Body Worn Cameras
I am committed to continue body worn camera deployment to showcase deputies’ good work, improve evidence and in certain cases (intoxicated driving for example) and the added transparency benefit all of us. No surprise to me, our deputies support this equipment enhancement.
Accountability in Law Enforcement
I will continue to deal decisively if serious misconduct occurs. In addition to terminations I’ve ordered as Sheriff, several individuals resigned during investigation because they knew I would fire them once investigators concluded gathering facts. We implemented lessons learned from such cases years ago. Improvements include additional supervisor and senior leader positions to enhance accountability and support; restructured the supervisory promotion process using industry best practices and outside evaluators; increased leadership training including outside expert instructors; added training about work expectations and ethics; and restructured our entire evaluation process which increases mentoring. In addition to my focus on local accountability, my work on a state committee to review misconduct cases from other agencies ensures our profession’s high standards are safeguarded across Oregon.
I will support strong programs that promote safety.
- Since becoming Sheriff I added County-wide Mental Health Response Team staffing to provide more help to those suffering from mental illness, in crisis or in emotional distress, and whenever possible avoid a trip to Jail.
- A specialist who’s only job is to provide crime victims aged 65 and older with emotional support and information relating to the criminal justice system and their case, in addition to providing crime prevention education. The unfortunate reality is some older adults can become vulnerable to crime. They deserve our support to keep them safe.
- Crime Scene Technicians and Criminalists whose work strengthens investigations and support deputies and officers from all city police departments.
- Interagency SWAT and crisis negotiators ready to deploy quickly to support deputies and city police.
- Patrols that focus on detecting and arresting intoxicated drivers.
- Community programs that put Jail inmates to work in positive ways, and programs in Jail which are proven to reduce recidivism, and provide inmates the opportunity to earn GED certificates and learn job skills.
- Strong police services inside the Enhanced Sheriff’s Patrol District, funded by those residents who benefit from District services.
- Community programs that help families and youth, like free “Power Curve” self-defense training for women, our Public Safety Community Academy, Career Day for high school students, and educational presentations about internet safety and preventing identify theft.