MADRAS, OR -- Jefferson County’s new Sheriff was sworn in Monday evening. Jason Pollock was appointed to the post when former Sheriff Marc Heckathorn stepped down, following his loss to Pollock in the May election. Heckathorn's decision puts Pollock in place six months ahead of schedule.
Sheriff Pollock spoke with KBND News Tuesday evening, at the end of his first 24 hours in office. He says he has a long to-do list, "Just kind of prioritizing. Obviously, my first step this morning was to come up and make sure I get everybody in my office sworn in under me as Sheriff. The next step is to start knocking off those things I have to follow by statute." Pollock feels he’s starting out with a lot of support, "I’ve had Sheriffs reach out to me from other counties; I’ve had other department heads, locally, reach out to me. I’m pretty open minded and humbled in that I know that I don’t know everything."
After a contentious election, Pollock says his first priority is to address uncertainty and provide stability for his office, "Making sure people understand they’ve got a job. My intention is not to clean house, which some people think that is what a Sheriff does or what some Sheriffs have done in the past."
Pollock spent much of his first day in meetings. He says it's important he improves local and regional partnerships, "Under the prior administration, there was a huge disconnect with other agencies and I’m working to repair that now. Other agencies - and I don’t want to speak for them - but just the ones I’ve spoken to are very excited. And, I’m honored they’ve reached out and offered their support in any way they can. I think that’s really the first step in the healing process, not just for our community, but for our surrounding agencies."
He hopes, within six months, he can start fulfilling the campaign promise of prioritizing child abuse, drug abuse and mental health issues. "Those all, somewhat, run hand in hand," says Pollock, "So, tackling those and putting detectives in the right position, being able to fill those or keep those positions filled and set them on the right path, I think is key for being able to tackle some of those issues."
Sheriff Pollock's appointment by Jefferson County Commissioners is for the remainder of Heckathorn's term. He must still be officially elected in November, although Pollock's will be the only name to appear on the ballot.