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Jefferson Co. Sheriff-Elect To Take Office Six Months Early

MADRAS, OR -- Jefferson County Commissioners unanimously agreed to appoint Jason Pollock as the next Sheriff, six months ahead of schedule. At Wednesday's meeting, Commissioners heard public comment from numerous people supportive of the decision but upset about plans to pay outgoing Sheriff Marc Heckathorn more than $82,000. 

One woman told them, "I, personally, am glad Sheriff Heckathorn seems to be vacating the position. I don’t believe he’s shown that he has the mental or emotional temperament to be in law enforcement, let alone be the Sheriff of any county." She went on to say, "I know we all work so hard for our money. To see someone paid for doing nothing just grates me the wrong way. I mean, there must be something he can do; school resource officer, mow the county lawns, do something for that $82,600." Another person told Commissioners, "I found Marc’s - how he’s handled this election situation with his friends extremely troubling. And now this: expecting or trying to extort money out of the county, really bothers me."

Pollock beat Sheriff Heckathorn in the May election, but wasn’t slated to be sworn in until January. In fact, he technically he won't have been elected to the position until November. Although, his name will appear alone on the ballot. On June first, Heckathorn announced he would step down at 5 p.m. June 20 and take a number of vacation days before that time. Commissioners' Wednesday decision puts Pollock in place at 5:01 p.m. 

One Commissioner addressed the crowd's complaints about the severance package, saying they need to avoid future litigation, citing ongoing lawsuits against the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office as an example. "The transition wasn’t going to be as smooth as we’d like it to be, so the main thing is protect the county and the citizens from liability. But at the same time, get Jason in there and, you know, it doesn’t do us any good to have him driving around in a patrol car the next six months. We want to surround him with as much support as we can and make him as successful as he can be." 

One man told Commissioners, "We believe that Jefferson County dodged a bullet. I totally agree with you: let him go." 

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