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Deputy stationed in court wins award

Jackson County sheriff's Deputy Chris Zornes is a friendly face at Jackson County Circuit Court, but he's also ready to take action against security threats.

With attorneys, several judges and sheriff's office employees looking on, Zornes was named employee of the month for Jackson County government during a commissioners meeting earlier this week.

Commissioner Bob Strosser said Zornes is always willing to help judges, court employees and concerned family members, but he also has responded to medical emergencies, family disputes, crimes in progress and even a bomb threat during his time keeping watch over the downtown Medford court.

Strosser said Zornes responds to incidents with both courage and compassion.

Jackson County created the security deputy position for the court in 2012. Zornes, who has been working for the sheriff's office since 1997, was asked to fill — and help define — the new role, Strosser said.

Zornes said he was humbled to receive the award.

"It's actually a reflection of people around me," he said.

Zornes said the sheriff's office is full of outstanding, committed employees. Dozens of military veterans are among their ranks.

He especially praised employees who work in the Corrections Division and staff the Jackson County Jail. Zornes previously worked in the jail.

"They deal with problems nobody else wants to deal with every day," he said.

Zornes said the sheriff's office employees who screen people with the metal detector and scanning machine at the entrance to the court are also underappreciated. They catch thousands of weapons or items that could be used as weapons each year, he said.

— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.