Sheriff: Experience key to public safety (Jan. 19, 2022)


As your sheriff, public safety is my top priority. At the time I began working in law enforcement, I wanted to protect our community and those unable to protect themselves.

I started as a patrol deputy and narcotics detective many years ago, investigating crimes and holding criminals accountable. You have my word I will do the same as your sheriff.

Linn County Sheriff’s Office offers the opportunity of many ranks of service; fortunately, I have held all of them.

Beginning as a Mill City resident deputy, then working as a detective specializing in narcotics, on to patrol sergeant, patrol lieutenant, Patrol Division Commander, and even Undersheriff before serving as your Sheriff.

As the leader of our Defensive Tactics Team specializing in teaching “Use of Force,” as well as our Field Training Program, I carried on the tradition of training new deputies on the Linn County way.

My past positions with the Sheriff’s Office have given me vast experience in investigating crimes at even the highest levels, as well as developing policies and procedures, and working with a $36 million budget, ensuring we are making wise and frugal decisions with tax-payer dollars.

After 24 years at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, it has always been apparent to me that there is a distinct difference in our agency from others across Oregon. There is a trust and a positive connection with the community that has endured even when law enforcement was vilified elsewhere in our state.

This trust is built from the way we treat the community, as well as always going the extra mile in public safety service. We respond to every call for service when other agencies won’t. This trust in our service presented itself when the voters passed our operating levy this past November. Simply put, they like what we are doing.

Every rank has a supervisor; I have held every one of them here at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office. These achievements were not easy as each came with a rigorous testing process. My goal with these promotions is to always help ensure we keep ourselves accountable when providing the service that Linn County deserves.

My commitment was to not allow myself or others to cut corners in doing the right thing, even if there was more work involved. Our community deserves our best every day.

I have been working with our city contracts and other smaller communities these last several years, building relationships and listening to their concerns. Concerns from these smaller communities range from parking issues, traffic problems, nearby drug houses, and even simply education on the laws themselves. Utilizing my experiences while working with them towards viable solutions has strengthened their trust in the Sheriff’s Office.

Working with mental health professionals to address our growing mental health crisis is an important aspect of our community. Deputies are dealing with people in extreme mental health crises more than ever before and Linn County is one of the few counties that do not have a crisis center where deputies can take them for treatment. We need to explore our options to remedy this problem and many others with strategic investments proven to work.

Every industry, especially law enforcement is facing staffing shortages. I will work for new ways to attract and hire quality applicants that will work hard for our community. My goals for the future of the Linn County Sheriff’s Office include being committed to hiring quality people who appreciate the Linn County way.

As your sheriff, I am committed to continuing the service our community demands. Law enforcement has faced new laws, court decisions, and other obstacles making this goal more difficult every day.

These changes are challenging at best, but my commitment is to find different ways to come to the same outcome of sending the criminal to jail and protecting the community. Continuing to use my experience, as I have my entire career, to navigate our agency through these challenges to keep protecting the community is what I intend to do.

Please don’t hesitate to bring your ideas and opinions to my office because your experience matters as much as mine does.

Michelle Duncan

Linn County Sheriff