(Update: Heckathorn’s answer)
Leriche, Adkins explain the reasons for the approval; Heckathorn ‘stunned and completely disappointed’, defends his actions
MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) — An already controversial campaign involving Jefferson County Sheriff appointee Marc Heckathorn and his main challenger, Senior Deputy Jason Pollock, became even more so on Wednesday, as District Attorney Steve Leriche and retired Sheriff Jason Adkins endorsed Pollock, citing Heckathorn’s statements and actions, such as dropping a tie with a crimes against children task force.
Heckathorn fired back with his own statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying he was “stunned and deeply disappointed” by the statement from Leriche and Adkins, both of whom he “considered my friends and mentors,” and saying that he “could easily refute” the claims of the two men. (His full statement is below.)
First, here is the full statement released by Leriche and Adkins:
“After careful consideration and deliberation, we, District Attorney Steve Leriche and retired Sheriff Jim Adkins, two of Jefferson County’s most experienced law enforcement professionals, have decided to endorse Deputy Principal Jason Pollock for Jefferson County Sheriff.
“Acting Sheriff Heckathorn’s prior service in this county is commendable, but his actions as acting sheriff and during this campaign have been the opposite.
“We are disappointed with his decision to remove the Sheriff’s Office from the group of law enforcement professionals who receive advice on the investigation of child pornography cases in this jurisdiction without consulting community partners, his decision to adding a third candidate who is a buddy who doesn’t even want the job on the ballot, and his claims throughout his campaign that anything negative a citizen mentioned about the sheriff’s office was the result of former sheriffs, while anything positive was the result of his work alone.
“That is not accurate. Given these serious concerns about Acting Sheriff Heckathorn’s communication, integrity and judgment, we cannot support his candidacy.
“Like Acting Sheriff Heckathorn, Senior Deputy Jason Pollock is a dedicated career public servant. He will certainly have things to learn on the administrative side, but he is more than capable of doing it. We are confident in his ability to serve. the people of Jefferson County and urge you to vote for him,” the statement concluded.
The campaign has indeed been tense between Heckathorn, a 23-year veteran of the sheriff’s office who previously served as an undersheriff, and Pollock, an 11-year veteran of the office in various roles, including as a detective in child abuse cases. children and sex crimes.
Heckathorn filed the paperwork and paid the deposit for third candidate Rick Dupont, saying he asked Dupon to run because the election would have been postponed until November with only two candidates.
Leriche told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday that he did not approach Heckathorn with his concerns, but that he and Adkins spoke and made a decision based on various factors to support Pollock in the race.
Leriche said he learned in late March that the sheriff’s office had decided that all local tips from the federal Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force regarding the IP (Internet) address related to child pornography would go to local police. State of Oregon, rather than the sheriff’s office.
“No one had approached me about it, and it really worried me,” he said.
“I hate politics and I don’t like the spirit of the game,” the DA said. “I don’t like political maneuvering.”
As for Pollock, Leriche said, “I know Jason,” largely from his detective work on cases being prosecuted by the district attorney’s office. “I know where his heart is,” he said.
Leriche also said he was disappointed to see how Heckathorn “distanced himself” from Adkins during the debates by saying that any issues people raised were the fault of the previous administration.
When asked why he didn’t ask Heckathorn about the ICAC’s decision when he heard about it, or before endorsing his opponent, Leriche replied that nothing the sheriff could have told him wouldn’t. would have convinced that it was the right decision.
“I don’t understand how it can be anyone’s decision,” Leriche said. “It shocked me. It floored me. I mean, there’s really nothing else to say. I just don’t know why anyone would have made that decision.”
Regardless of the outcome of the election, Leriche said, “It would be nice if at the end of the day they were both gentlemen and came together to make the strongest sheriff’s office possible. That’s what everyone has to hope for. It’s the only good thing to hope for.”
Here is Heckathorn’s press release in response:
“I was amazed and deeply disappointed by the press release issued today by the District Attorney and the former Sheriff. The two people I considered my friends and mentors. I worked with both people for over twenty years and have both personal and professional dealings with them.Neither person contacted me until the release was sent to the media today.
“The retired sheriff was one of my main supporters and encouraged me to apply for the position of sheriff and I was unanimously appointed sheriff by the county commission in June 2022 and I took my duties in July 2022. My relationship and that of my deputies with the DA’s office has always been strong, and I am proud of this partnership and the work we do together serving the citizens of Jefferson County.
“The three issues cited in the press release could have been resolved through direct communication instead of being caught off guard in a last minute effort to change the trajectory of an election. Today’s release is exactly why it is necessary to complete the election and end the division that has plagued the county for nearly a year.
“I can easily refute each of the three reasons noted in the release that these elected officials and former elected officials used to support a candidate. The timing of the release was stunning, less than two weeks before an election. Their information was incomplete and Frankly, I m I expected them both to have explored all the evidence before intervening in this last minute effort to discredit me.
“I maintain my file and my service in Jefferson County. I continue to be open and welcome to anyone who wants specific details.
Marc Heckathorn, Sheriff”
Heckathorn also shared with NewsChannel 21 emails between his office and OSP regarding ICAC investigations, saying his detective had instructed the state team “to continue to conduct the affairs of the ICAC.” because the sheriff’s office “had no experience or training in ICAC investigations”.
“As you can see from the emails, we want the training,” Heckathorn wrote, and “the state wants to help train my detectives, and we need to change policy and get equipment, but the process move forward in a partnership together.”
He noted that the sheriff’s office partnered with the ICAC and the Department of Justice in early February in the arrest of a man at Crooked River Ranch on numerous child pornography charges.
Heckathorn told NewsChannel 21 that the dispute with the DA over the ICAC was “in my view miscommunication between the parties involved.”
“I had a new detective who had never done these cases before,” he said. “We hadn’t had an ICAC case for a very long time.” But he said they didn’t “drop the ball”.
“To my knowledge, we have never received a case from the ICAC as a primary jurisdiction,” Heckathorn said.
“I have no ego when it comes to child abuse cases. I want them to be properly investigated in a timely manner. … You can’t go wrong with a case like this. … The cases have never been investigated.”
Now he’s said, “I’m going to run this election. If I had known (the prosecutor) had concerns, I would have reached out months ago.”
And when it’s over, does Heckathorn think he’ll be able to work with Pollock, regardless of the outcome? “Of course,” he said. “Our job is to be partners.”