BEND, OR -- District Attorney-elect John Hummel is only weeks away from taking his place as the lead prosecutor in Deschutes County. He says he’s hoping to hit the ground running, next month. "Transition has gone really well. I think Patrick Flaherty for facilitating that. I’ve been in the office, probably 6 or 7 times, meeting with him and his staff members, reviewing budgets, reviewing staffing, reviewing policy and procedures. So, I feel good about starting on January fifth," he tells KBND News.
Earlier this week, the D-A’s office received approval from Deschutes County Commissioners to hire another prosecutor to handle the agency’s growing caseload. "As the population of Deschutes County grows, law enforcement agencies have added staffing. And, as they do that, they arrest more individuals, they send more cases to the Deschutes County DA’s office," Hummel said. "If our staffing doesn’t increase, one of two things is going to happen: We have to either decline cases that should be prosecuted because we don’t have the resources to prosecute. Or, we work our staff members 60-70 hours per week, they burn out and quit. Neither is a sustainable option." Hummel hopes to have that person on board within the next month or two.
In contrast to four years ago when Patrick Flaherty took office, Hummel says he has no plans to make any other personnel changes. "I’ve told every staff member there, I’m not making any changes, everyone in that office deserves to be able to prove themselves to me. Of course, a year in, if I’m seeing performance that’s not up to the level I think it should be, I reserve the right to be able to remove individuals. But, it’s gonna be based on performance, not based on some desire to clean house and bring in my own people." Hummel will be sworn into office on January fifth.