Phil McDonald has filed to run for his fourth term in office as the sheriff of Lake County.
McDonald has served in this capacity since his appointment in July 2001 following the retirement of former Sheriff Ed Henry, and is currently completing his third consecutive term.
McDonald’s years with the department go back more than 25 years to 1989, having worked as a resident deputy for about eight years in the Silver Lake and Christmas Valley areas. He also previously worked in the Lake County Jail for about three years.
Over the years, a lot of the issues within the county have remained pretty consistent, McDonald said, where public safety is concerned.
Marijuana and methamphetamine remain the dominant illicit drugs of choice, and issues of DUI cases, domestic violence and sex abuse cases all tend to follow a cyclical pattern, he said.
“We see a lot more thefts and break-ins than we used to,” he said, “and that’s tied directly to the drug usage.”
That being said, even through the peaks and valleys, economy-wise, Lake County still remains very much a place McDonald is proud to call home, and for others to raise families, as well.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is regularly seeking out grant programs and participates in interagency enforcement efforts related to passenger safety, such as the occasional seat belt enforcement blitzes often coordinated with the Oregon State Police.
The challenges associated with managing public safety in a county as large as Lake County remain constant; but that’s simply the nature of its geography. There are resident deputies in the north end as well as Paisley, he said, and McDonald said he would like the department to be more proactive rather than reactionary on issues, but more often than not the latter approach prevails, simply due to these challenges.
In the coming months, McDonald is looking to bring a narcotics detection dog on board in the north end of the county. This, he said, would be one more tool to help deputies do their jobs as effectively as possible.