Scott Schaier, a Bend Police officer who fatally shot a man in 2016, has filed to run for Deschutes County Sheriff saying a recent jail death is a reminder new leadership is necessary, adding “Deschutes County residents deserve better.”
Schaier has spent the last six years with the Bend PD, serving as a patrol officer, training officer and member of the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team. He’s currently a school resource officer.
“News of the recent tragic death at the Deschutes County Jail reminds us we need leadership that will provide adequate staffing and resources to ensure the community is safe. Deschutes County residents deserve better,” Schaier said in a press release announcing his entry into the race. “It is time for a change.”
Schaier was referencing a death at the jail this week in which a 33-year-old Bend man died in an apparent suicide.
Current Sheriff Shane Nelson was appointed by county commissioners in 2015 to replace the retiring Sheriff Larry Blanton. Nelson was elected to the position in November 2016.
“Law enforcement has become more complicated in the face of unprecedented problems like the opioid crisis, high levels of houselessness and a broken mental health system. This requires innovative and collaborative responses,” Schaier said. “Deschutes County needs a Sheriff’s office that works effectively to keep our communities safe and works hand in hand with community partners”
Schaier said “ending the dysfunction in the Sheriff’s Office is priority number one.”
“The lawsuits, harassment, firings, lack of interagency cooperation and understaffing that are the hallmark of the current Sheriff undermines the effectiveness of law enforcement in the County, leaving us all less safe and less trusting of law enforcement,” he said.
In December three years ago, Officers Schaier and Marc Tisher pulled over 31-year-old Michael Jacques for driving erratically in downtown Bend.
There was a scuffle during the arrest and both officers deployed Tasers. Schaier then sprayed pepper gel on Jacques, also with no effect, according to authorities.
Schaier told investigators he was afraid that he or Tisher would get run over or dragged by the van. He drew his handgun and fired five shots, killing the unarmed Jacques.
An Oregon Department of Justice investigation concluded there wasn’t sufficient evidence to find Schaier criminally liable and in 2018 the City of Bend’s insurance company paid an $800,000 settlement to Jacques’ family.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.