MEDFORD, Ore. – Ashland Police Deputy Chief Corey Falls jumped out to a big lead in the race for Jackson County Sheriff, and may end up facing off against incumbent Mike Winters in the November election.
Falls received 46 percent of the vote as of 11 p.m. Tuesday. Winters received 30 percent, and sheriff’s lieutenant Bob Sergi received 23 percent. If a candidate does not receive more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will face off in November.
Tuesday night, Falls said he wanted to wait until the election is certified, but said he is happy with the large amount of support.
“It’s exciting,” Falls said. “Having not been through a campaign before I didn’t know what to expect, so being off to a good start is exciting.”
Falls has worked for the Ashland Police Department since 2008 and was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2011. Winters was elected Jackson County Sheriff in 2002 and reelected in 2006 and 2010. Sergi has been with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office since 2010, and was with the Medford Police Department for 20 years prior to that.
Sergi was recently the subject of an Oregon Department of Justice investigation, after a complaint was filed by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office accusing Sergi of using an employee roster for campaign purposes. Sergi was placed on administrative leave by the office during the investigation. After several weeks, the DOJ concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to move forward with a criminal case, and dropped the investigation.
Both Sergi and Falls criticized Winters’ use of sheriff’s funds, including the use of a county helicopter to assist in drug investigations in Siskiyou County. Falls said he wanted to see more resources being used to accredit Jackson County deputies and cut down on violence against women and children. He also wants the sheriff’s office to be more open and accommodating to the public. Sergi had pointed to his experience in the county, and said he received a majority of support in a recent poll of sheriff’s office employees. Winters cited his record as sheriff, and his experience balancing the department’s budget amid uncertain economic times.