New deputy joins Sisters contingent
Last updated 11/23/2021 at Noon
Deputy Josh Westfall is the newest face in the Sisters office of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO). He started out as temporary about a year ago while one of the other officers was on leave, but when she resigned, Westfall was able to transition to the Sisters office as his new full-time position.
“I’m happy to be out here,” Westfall said. “I’m thankful to be able to serve the people of Sisters and have the opportunity to establish local relationships.”
Westfall is a Central Oregon native, having grown up in Bend, graduating from Mountain View High School where he played football, and then graduating from the criminal justice program at COCC. He said that as he was growing up, he had “an intrinsic desire to help people and keep them safe,” but he wasn’t sure of a career path. He made the connection between helping people and law enforcement after reading an article about people in their 20s being needed in the field.
“When I took my first criminal justice class, I felt like I’d been shot out of a gun,” Westfall said. “I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
He sees his job as a deputy being a calling. “Being a policeman isn’t for everybody, but I really enjoy it and you can’t put a price on satisfaction and happiness.”
He began his career in law enforcement as a reserve officer with the City of Bend. In 2008, he was hired by the DCSO where he served as a patrol officer in the Search and Rescue (SAR) division, and the last year as a temporary deputy in Sisters.
In 2012-13, he was a deputy in the “west car,” which covered Sisters and other areas in the western part of Deschutes County, an assignment he really enjoyed. When the opportunity arose to take the temporary position in Sisters, he was happy to be back. He’s now excited to have Sisters as his full-time assignment. “Sisters is such a unique community. The people are so invested and take pride in their town. It’s contagious — fun to be a part of it,” he said.
During his three years working SAR, Westfall served as the assistant SAR coordinator and an incident commander. He oversaw 125 citizen volunteers who assist in searches and rescues for injured hikers and others lost in the woods. He was responsible for resource management of the safety equipment.
In his early years on the force, he served as a background investigator and field training officer for new recruits. He just recently completed a two-week hostage/crisis negotiator training with the FBI office in Portland.
Westfall said there’s a wide range of calls and cases in Sisters, from being able to return a lost cell phone to a citizen to some of the high-priority criminal cases. Sisters just doesn’t have the number of major crimes found in Bend and Redmond. A favorite part of his job is being able to establish good relationships with community members and the business community.
He thinks that having specific deputies assigned to a geographic area, like Sisters, is a “very effective way to police.” In the rest of the county, deputies are continually rotating through different regions and don’t have the opportunity to establish relationships with the citizens. He said that the cooperation of the Sisters community in providing their video surveillance footage when a crime occurs in a neighborhood is unparalleled anywhere else in the county.
Westfall’s current work schedule is Wednesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. In his time away from work he enjoys being with the family. He also enjoys church involvement, is a lifelong New England Patriots football fan, and likes participating in mixed martial arts.
In summing up his career in law enforcement, Westfall offered, “I feel blessed to be able to say I’ve found my calling. I am thankful every day. It’s not just a cliché when I say how lucky I am to do this. When I go out on calls, I see them as opportunities to go in and help people who may find themselves at a crisis point. I feel like I am shining a light in the darkness.”