PENDLETON- Umatilla County sheriff candidate J.L. Humphrey retired nine years ago as an Oregon State Police detective but says he is not out of the local law enforcement loop.

"I keep myself immersed locally and nationally," said Humphrey, who hopes to unseat Sheriff John Trumbo.

Humphrey, 52, has lived in Pendleton since 1992. He retired from the OSP in 1995 after working 16 years as a criminal investigator in Pendleton, Milton-Freewater, Eugene, Florence and Portland. The self-described "computer geek" believes it is time for a change in the sheriff's office and says he can push the department forward.

"These are not the cowboy days anymore," Humphrey said. "The sheriff's department has become stagnant in the past eight years under the current leadership."

Experience

"Given my experience in both counter-intelligence and police work, I think I can be very effective as sheriff," Humphrey said.

During his years with OSP, he was a major-crimes detective and a computer program design developer for police applications.

Humphrey also headed investigations of public corruption cases in Eastern Oregon as well as Multnomah County, including going after computer "hackers."

Sheriff's reserves

Humphrey thinks the sheriff's reserves are severely under-used right now and can become much more valuable.

He said that the county is fortunate to have a group of "highly trained and skilled" state corrections officers at both Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton and Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla who would be "a great asset" to the sheriff's office and county residents as possible reserves.

"We have a lot of state employees - and anyone else who has a desire and interest - that could be reserves," he said.

Top priorities

Humphrey sees funding at the sheriff's office as a "huge" problem that needs attention. Funding the jail so that it can run at full capacity and providing more funding for patrol deputies are at the top of Humphrey's budget priorities.

"Patrol is the bread and butter of any police department," he said. "Patrol really needs to be beefed up to be effective."

But Humphrey said he would not take funding away from the jail for more patrol deputies.

Biggest challenges

Funding and personnel need to be used better to combat the methamphetamine problem in the county, Humphrey said.

"(The meth problem) is a scourge upon our county, a scourge that has been a growing police problem for years with local police managers pulling and adding personnel, sometimes without reason, to the local drug task force," he said. "Meth has been and will continue to be a huge criminal problem into the near future, a problem that can be controlled by increased and consistent support to the local drug task force, B.E.N.T."

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