Clackamas County voters have a decision to make on May 19: the next county sheriff. I offer the following for consideration.
The sheriff's duties and responsibilities range beyond law enforcement. The sheriff must also be a budget and personnel manager. Since 2005, the budget for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) has grown from $48 million to around $117 million. While this has occurred, the on-the-ground deputy force has gone from 80 deputies to 63. The budget has grown more than 240% while deputies on-the-ground have declined 25%. That means for every on-the-ground deputy lost, the budget has increased over 10%. Where is that money going? Who is responsible for the decisions affecting that growth and decline? I am pretty sure it is not the deputies on-the-ground. That leaves upper management (sheriff, undersheriff, captains and lieutenants) responsible for those decisions.
Let's take a look at the candidates from the CCSO (current and retired) presently running for the sheriff's job. I am sure Undersheriff Brandenburg was deeply involved with the development of the budget and implementation of CCSO personnel growth decisions. In fact, her name is on the latest budgetary plan filed with the county.
Lt. Brian Jensen was the messenger to the volunteer Search and Rescue (SAR) organizations regarding their dismantling and creation of a county SAR organization, a program he strongly supported. He acknowledged at the time there was no plan, budget or equipment in place to support SAR during that process.
Retired CCSO Sgt. Lynn Schoenfeld has not only served the county as an on-the-ground deputy and sergeant, but successfully managed a private business, demonstrating his understanding of not only law enforcement, but budgetary planning and personnel management. Isn't it time to start running CCSO's $117 million budget like a business?
Sgt. Lynn Schoenfeld has my vote, how about you?
Russ Lawrence is a resident of Beavercreek.
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