News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sheriff announces plans to retire

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson will hang up his badge after a 30-year law enforcement career. Nelson made the announcement of his pending retirement last week, stating that he will serve out the remainder of his term, and retire on January 3, 2024.

In a letter to DCSO staff, he wrote: “It has been my greatest professional honor to serve as your Sheriff. I have been blessed with a wonderful family, great teammates, and supportive community members.Together, you all have ensured a strong and effective Sheriff’s Office known for excellent customer service. I have decided to retire so will not be running for sheriff in the next election.”

Nelson told The Nugget that he will focus on continuing to provide quality service to the citizens of the county and on recruitment.

Law enforcement recruitment has been challenging in recent years, but Nelson said that current efforts appear to be fruitful.

“It’s looking up,” he said. “It’s always hard to say... The problem is that you can’t tell until later on (in the process) because you still have the probationary period and training. It’s a lot better than it has been in years past.”

Nelson has been an ardent critic of the impacts of Measure 110, which decriminalized much drug use and prevention. He continues to have concerns about the impact of what he sees as increased drug use and addiction resulting from removal of consequences to drug use.

“We’ve got to get back to where, no, there’s a consequence, a criminal consequence, to using drugs,” he said.

Without that criminal consequence, Nelson believes, users and addicts lack sufficient motivation to change their behavior.

Nelson indicated support of Captain William Bailey, who has formed a political action committee in a move necessary to launching his own campaign for sheriff. Bailey served as the interim commander of the Sisters substation of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office when the City of Sisters and DCSO came to an agreement to establish a permanent contingent of deputies in the community.

“I look forward to continuing to support Captain William Bailey and voting for him in the election for Deschutes County Sheriff,” Nelson stated.


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