Letter: Management takes experience, training (Oct. 19, 2022)

Editor:

The election for Linn County Sheriff is of utmost importance to our community and I urge all voters to take the time to educate yourselves and make an informed vote.

I generally sit on the sidelines and quietly cast my vote in an election, but I feel compelled to speak out in this race. I am a member of our rural east Linn County community and I have supported my family by working in law enforcement for the past 18 years locally, and continue to do so.

During my time in law enforcement, I have worked with both Sheriff Michelle Duncan and Deputy Jon Raymond.  

A career in law enforcement is a challenging and honorable career and I commend both Sheriff Duncan and Jon Raymond for their service and the sacrifices they have made while protecting our community.

Jon Raymond has spent the majority of his career with the singular focus of a patrol deputy by responding to and investigating calls for service. Sheriff Duncan worked as a patrol deputy for many years, and additionally worked her way through the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Undersheriff and now Sheriff.  

Experience and knowledge in a law enforcement leader cannot be understated.

As a law enforcement officer works their way through each rank, they go through a competitive process to get the position, attend required training to attain various levels of supervisory certifications, are faced with daily supervisory challenges, and are required to prove themselves each step of the way.

Each rank requires additional training, more responsibility, and higher-level decision making which ultimately prepares them for the next rank. There are a multitude of things that a supervisor deals with behind the scenes that a patrol deputy will never experience.

This includes everything from dealing with employee disciplinary issues, writing policy and procedures, dealing with collective bargaining contracts, handling a multimillion dollar budget, to leading an agency through an officer-involved shooting. Experience does matter! 

Sheriff Duncan has proven herself as a capable and confident leader who has the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure her continued success. Jon Raymond, albeit a competent deputy, has never held a supervisory position (nor has Travis Boshart whom Jon has selected as his undersheriff).

Jon Raymond has likened it to a “good old boys” system when previous sheriffs hand down their position to their undersheriff prior to the end of their term. It is vital to the success of any business, military unit, etc., to have a continuity plan to pass leadership over to. This is done by choosing someone who has experience, has been mentored, and has a proven track record showing solid decision making and competency as a leader.

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office employs 192 people and has a yearly budget over $40 million. I find it concerning to turn the reins of both sheriff and undersheriff over to two deputies, with no prior supervisory experience, who will be required to make difficult and challenging decisions on day one that they have never faced before.  

As I have watched this race for sheriff, I sadly see misinformation being spread.

Jon Raymond’s campaign has compared Sheriff Duncan to Gov. Kate Brown. This is absolutely not true. Sheriff Duncan has conservative values, strongly supports our right to bear arms, and continues to be outspoken and fight back at poor legislation that has come down from Salem.

Jon Raymond is also running on the stance that employees at the Sheriff’s Office are screaming for a change in leadership. Again, this is not true. The Deputy Sheriff’s Association (DSA) provided Jon a letter dated Dec. 21, 2021, advising they held a vote and were in support of him. In the recent debate held between Jon Raymond and Sheriff Duncan, Jon said 57 people voted for him. This is less than a third of all employees at the Sheriff’s Office.

It is also important to note that the vote took place prior to Sheriff Duncan actually taking office. In the last 10 months, Sheriff Duncan has proven her leadership in the decisions she has made, and has shown she has what it takes to be a Sheriff that we can rely on to do what is right for our community. There are many people at the Sheriff’s Office who support Sheriff Duncan, who respect her commitment and hard work, and who appreciate how much she cares for her employees.   

There will continue to be opinion letters both for and against Sheriff Duncan, some sadly mean-spirited. Keep in mind that a high-level supervisor has to hold people accountable at times and make decisions that do not please everyone every time.

I personally know Sheriff Duncan to be a thoughtful, hard working person with solid common sense and character. If you have the opportunity, take the time to meet her.  

I highly recommend readers watch the recent debate held by the Linn County Republican Party (viewable at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1Ccagby5zo).

It is obvious to see which candidate has the most experience and qualifications to be our sheriff.

An election shouldn’t be decided on the amount of signs one sees or on a candidate’s future promises without them having a proven track record.

Please make an informed decision. I have personally seen and can attest to the fact that Sheriff Michelle Duncan is a solid leader, truly cares for her employees, and cares deeply for serving the citizens of Linn County.  

Andy Franklin 

Lebanon

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