EUGENE, Ore. — Lane County could be in need of a new sheriff soon if Sheriff Tom Turner lands the Florence police chief job.
Sheriff Turner is in Florence going before a panel as part of the interview process. He didn’t want to talk on camera as to not jeopardize the process, so we talked with Lane County Commissioner Pat Farr to get some insight into his choice to interview for the chief position.
Turner has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience in Oregon. In 2011, he was appointed Lane County sheriff, and in 2013 he was elected sheriff.
“Tom has been tremendous. We passed the jail levy, the first public safety levy we have been able to pass in many years. A lot of that was the leadership of Turner. He gathered the troops around him so to speak,” Farr said.
But now he’s looking to head to the coast. He is one of six finalists for the Florence police chief job. He’s up against, Peter Scheets from San Antonio. He’s the former Hutto, Texas police chief. Ron Clark is currently the interim chief of police in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Dana Maxfield overseas the field services section of the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office in Idaho. Jeffery Isham overseas the patrol and criminal division of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon. Lastly, there is Jim Peterson, the deputy chief for the Pocatello, Idaho Police Department.
“I encouraged him, I think. Tom Turner is a great sheriff, and he is putting everything into it. He’s done a very good job as the sheriff, and I wish him well in being considered for the Florence police job,” Farr said.
So why leave behind the sheriff’s job? Commissioner Chair Farr gave us a little insight.
“One thing is that Tom at heart is a policeman. I worked with him when he was at EPD and spent 10 years in city council watching him progress through the ranks there, and he loves policing. I think administration is something he is very good at, but given a choice he likes policing,” Farr said.
The public will have a chance to meet all of the candidates Thursday, April 17 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Florence Events Center. Then it will be up to the city manager to choose its next top cop.
Commissioner Farr says if Turner lands the job, he’s confident there is a great command staff in place moving forward at the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. He says the way you really judge how good a leader is is how well does the organization continue when they are gone.