PENDLETON- John Trumbo has spent the last 31 years working in sheriff's departments in Oregon, the last 27 in Umatilla County. He's seeking his third four-year term as sheriff in the May election.

"There's a lot I still want to do before I retire," said Trumbo, 54.

His long tenure has led to executive board positions on the Oregon State Sheriff's Association - of which he is president - and being named Sheriff's Department Employee of the Year by the Pendleton Eagles Lodge.

"It has been an honor and privilege to have served as sheriff for the past seven years - a commitment I have taken seriously and willingly," he said.


Trumbo began his career in 1973 as a reserve deputy in Benton County. He was promoted to sergeant the following year and lieutenant a year later and put in charge of the reserve unit.

Trumbo came to Umatilla County in 1977 to work in the jail before moving into the criminal division in 1979. He became undersheriff in 1992 and sheriff in 1997.

"I've had the ability to avoid some of the pitfalls that some of the last four sheriffs I've worked with have had," Trumbo said. "I've learned to correlate how to put things together.

"I'm proud to say I was a good cop when I worked the streets, and now I'm a good administrator. Because of my experience here I've been able to do things the other candidates haven't."

Sheriff's reserves

Sheriff's reserves "are strictly in a supportive role," Trumbo said . He noted that while the reserves are chosen on the same criteria as regular deputies and receive similar training, they have other full-time jobs.

Top priorities

"Sustainable, dedicated, adequate funding" is Trumbo's top priority if re-elected. "We have to be able to project a future for the sheriff's office and the citizens of this county," he said, noting that fluctuating funding has made it difficult to plan for the future.

Fighting the methamphetamine problem is another priority for Trumbo, who has been appointed to the governor's Meth Task Force. Trumbo said he strongly supports the work of the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team, known as B.E.N.T.

Like his challengers, Trumbo said he would like to increase the capacity of the jail, but that's a funding issue as well, he said. The jail is more efficient than it's ever been, he contended, and pointed to policy changes that allow the county to charge inmates for some of the cost of their incarceration.

Biggest challenges

One word - funding. That goes hand in hand with quality people to run the department.

"It's hard to get those people because we don't pay as well here (in Umatilla County)," Trumbo said. "It's a struggle to keep good, qualified personnel. I think we've been pretty fortunate. Umatilla County probably has the most qualified, well-trained officers around."

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