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Sheriff Candidates Answer Questions

sheriff forumMEDFORD, Ore. — The three candidates for Jackson County Sheriff made their pitch to voters Thursday.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters, Sheriff’s Deputy Bob Sergi, and Ashland Police Deputy Chief Corey Falls answered questions during a public forum put on by the League of Women Voters. The three candidates took turn answering questions from the public on the issues facing the department.

Winters pointed to his record as sheriff as reason why he should be reelected. He said he has pushed for new technology, like the security system installed last year at Shady Cove School, and said he has kept the budget balanced despite a tough economy.

“It’s been on budget for the last 12 years, and we haven’t come to the taxpayers for one dime of additional revenue,” Winters said.

Falls positioned himself as the candidate who would improve resources within the department. He said he wants to push for more accredited training for employees, and keep resources focused on investigating crimes inside Jackson County. He said he’s concerned that the department hasn’t been open with the public.

“The number one thing they say is they feel is the Sheriff’s Office is not available or not responsive to their concerns,” Falls said.

The Oregon Department of Justice is conducting a criminal investigation into Sergi, based on a complaint by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Sergi immediately said Thursday that he would not comment on that investigation until it is complete.

In Thursday’s forum, he said he holds the support of many inside the Sheriff’s Office, and wants to see more deputies on patrol to respond to property crimes.

“If we have more deputies on the street, we can prevent those or at least effectively investigate those type of crimes,” Sergi said.

If a candidate receives 50 percent of the vote plus 1 in the May primary, they will then run unopposed in the November election. If that does not happen, the top two finishers in May will be on the November ballot.