Jefferson County District Attorney Steve Leriche and former Sheriff Jim Adkins have endorsed Senior Deputy Jason Pollock for sheriff.
Pollock is up against incumbent Marc Heckathorn, who was sworn into office last July.
Leriche and Adkins released a statement Wednesday reading:
“After much thought and reflection, we, District Attorney Steve Leriche and Retired Sheriff Jim Adkins, two of the most experienced law enforcement professionals in Jefferson County, have decided to endorse Senior Deputy Jason Pollock for Jefferson County Sheriff.
Acting Sheriff Heckathorn’s prior service to this county is commendable, but his actions as Acting Sheriff and during this campaign have been the opposite. We are disappointed in his decision to remove the Sheriff’s Office from the group of law enforcement professionals that receive tips about the investigation of child pornography cases in this jurisdiction without consulting with community partners, his decision to add a third candidate who is a buddy who doesn’t even want the job to the ballot, and his assertions throughout his campaign that anything negative that a citizen mentioned about the Sheriff’s Office was a result of prior Sheriffs, while anything positive was a result of his work alone. That is not accurate. Given these serious concerns about Acting Sheriff Heckathorn’s communication, integrity, and judgement, 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 so. We are confident in his ability to serve the people of Jefferson County and urge you to vote for him.”
Heckathorn responded on Facebook Wednesday afternoon:
“I was stunned and thoroughly disappointed by the media release issued today by the District Attorney and former Sheriff. Both persons I considered to be my friends and mentors. I’ve worked with both persons for more than twenty years and have both personal and professional relationships with them. Neither person contacted me prior to the release being sent to the media today.
The retired sheriff was a key supporter of mine and encouraged me to apply for the Sheriff position and I was unanimously appointed as Sheriff by the County Commission in June 2022 and took office July 2022. My relationship and that of my deputies with the DA’s office has always been strong. I’m proud of that partnership and the work we do together serving the citizens of Jefferson County.
The three issues cited in the media release could have been resolved with direct communication instead of being blindsided in a last minute effort to change the trajectory of an election. The release today is exactly why there is a need to complete the election and to end the divisiveness that has plagued the county for nearly a year.
I can easily refute each of the three reasons noted in the release these elected and former elected officials used in making an endorsement of a candidate. The timing of the release was stunning less than two weeks before an election. Their information was incomplete and inaccurate. I frankly expected both of them to have explored all of the evidence before they weighed in with this last minute effort to discredit me.
I stand on my record and my service to Jefferson County. I continue to be open and welcome to all who want precises details.”
Central Oregon Daily’s Karli Olson moderated a debate between the two candidates on Monday.