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Sheriff Corey Falls is stepping down to become Gresham's new director of Police Services and 21st Century Policing. Mail Tribune file photo

Sheriff Corey Falls takes job in Gresham

Jackson County Sheriff Corey Falls will step down in a few weeks to become director of police services in Gresham.

"It is the best decision for my family," Falls said in a news release. He did not elaborate further, but his daughter, Jasmin, a former basketball star at South Medford High School, is now in her freshman year at Portland State University.

Falls, who was elected sheriff in 2014, has been named director of police services and 21st-century policing, the city of Gresham announced Wednesday afternoon.

In his new position, Falls will report to Gresham's city manager and will focus on "strategic planning and implementation of 21st-century policing initiatives in the department, including data-driven approaches to improving police services," a Gresham news release said.

Falls also will expand community outreach focused on police services, crime prevention, intervention and livability, the release said.

Falls will start his new position in late December or early January, Gresham Communications Manager Elizabeth Coffey said. Emails and calls to Falls were not immediately returned late Wednesday, but in his release, Falls said he was "pleased with the accomplishments we have made over the past two years that brought the Sheriff’s Office up to date with professional policing.

"There is a strategic plan in place, the patrol division is at full staffing for the first time in several years, we're getting back on track with civil processes, there is a sustainable staffing and training plan in place to open the basement of the jail in 2017, and a professional policing strategy has been implemented to reduce problems and help solve crime," Falls said in the release.

Jackson County Commissioner Doug Breidenthal said he found Falls to be an "exceptional sheriff" who held the office to a high professional standard.

"I believe it's going to be hard for somebody to step in and fill his shoes," Breidenthal said.

Breidenthal said Falls knew his job and "knew how to get it done." He commended Falls' fresh perspective and approach that kept the county secure without resorting to heavy-handed approaches.

"The people didn't feel like law enforcement was coming down on them, but at the same time felt safe and secure," Breidenthal said.

Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan said the county charter allows the Board of Commissioners to appoint a replacement until the next general election, which is in November 2018.

"There's no one they know that they have in mind," Jordan said. 

The county charter doesn't proscribe a process for appointing a sheriff, he said. Commissioners can either directly appoint an individual or arrange an application process.

"It's up to them how they want to proceed," Jordan said.

Wednesday's announcement follows a recruitment effort Gresham began in December to replace its police chief of eight years, Craig Junginger, who retired in June.

Interim chief Robin Sells will be the new police chief in Gresham, and the city created Falls' new position using money budgeted from the deputy chief position that Sells vacated, Coffey said.

"It's definitely a restructuring," Coffey said.

Coffey couldn't immediately say what Falls' salary will be, but the range is $119,560 to $155,424. Falls' annual salary with the sheriff's department has been $116,605 since July.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

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