New Jackson County sheriff and commissioners sworn in
There's a new sheriff in town. And two new commissioners.
A packed courtroom at the Jackson County Circuit Court greeted incoming Sheriff Corey Falls and commissioners Colleen Roberts and Rick Dyer at a Monday morning ceremony. Judge Lorenzo Mejia presided, swearing in the three new public servants. The public, along with representatives from the sheriff's department, Ashland and Medford police, Jackson County Search & Rescue, and Commissioner Doug Breidenthal, were in attendance.
"It was exciting, but absolutely humbling," Falls said of the ceremony. "The response of people that were here today, that showed up, was amazing."
Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker was also sworn in to her post for the fourth time after being re-elected in November.
Falls, former deputy chief of the Ashland Police Department, replaces former Sheriff Mike Winters, who served as sheriff since taking office in 2003. During the most recent sheriff's race, Winters announced he was throwing his support behind then-challenger Falls, but said he would continue to be sheriff if re-elected. Falls went on to receive 77 percent of the vote in the November election, according to the Jackson County Clerk's Office.
Detective Sgt. Warren Hensman will fill the void left by Falls at Ashland police.
Falls said one of his key focuses going into 2015 will be on domestic violence, a recent surge in area property crimes, and the ongoing issue of illegal substances.
"There are several things that I want to look at, but those issues are going to be solved collectively, and working with other agencies," Falls said, adding he also wants to help build back up public trust in law enforcement.
Commissioners Dyer and Roberts step into positions 1 and 3 spots, which were vacated by John Rachor and Don Skundrick, who did not seek reelection. Both Dyer and Roberts said they want to focus on economic development that would bring more higher-paying jobs into Jackson County.
"That's a real priority," Roberts said.
"I want to get to work as soon as possible," Dyer said. "I've been sort of chomping at the bit.'