More Diversity- Promises New Sheriff

By Kelsie Henderson-Weaver Staff Writer

 

Now that the election is past and Ashland’s Deputy Police Chief Corey Falls is the new Jackson County Sheriff elect beating out long time incumbent Mike Winters, the question is—what will Falls do with his new position?

The new Sheriff sat down with The Siskiyou to answer some of our questions.

One of the more pressing issues to Falls is the handling of mental health issues in the county and law enforcement response.

Falls plans on focusing more time, attention, and resources on educating and training officers how to appropriately approach and handle situations involving the mentally ill or distressed at the time of police response. His solutions are predominantly based on his past dedication towards researching Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs in 2008 and eventually developing a CIT training program for Medford and Ashland police departments in 2009.

The second most important concern Falls repeatedly touched on, was a need to connect and rebuild relationships within the community. In an attempt to do so, Falls spoke of diversifying the hiring boards within police departments as a way to create better relations between officers and community members with shared backgrounds in terms of race. As well as considering the community voice by requesting feedback from all areas of Jackson County as a part of his decision making process in order to best represent the County as a whole.

Lastly, the new Sheriff plans to address what he says is an inadequate staffing level in Jackson County’s jail as well as forced inmate releases over the past year due to insufficient space. Falls solution is to minimize staffing overtime by hiring “more bodies…and shift[ing] some personnel around”. This, also leads into his plan for dealing with the illegal drug problem. According to Falls, the focus and resources need to shift from assisting neighboring counties and other law enforcement agencies both with jail beds and enforcement to policing Jackson County. Sheriff elect Falls also made a point of saying either with or without the passing of recreational marijuana he intended to shift away from spending a lot of county resources on marijuana enforcement and eradication. Now that voters passed the legalization measure the Sheriff can go deeper into his focus areas of working with the community in terms of diversity, jail overcrowding and under staffing and better treatment of the mentally ill in Sheriff’s responses.

Falls will be sworn in to his new position in January of 2015. He replaces Mike Winters who was first elected in 2002.

 

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