Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, June 14 2012 at 4:47 PM, Updated: Thu, June 14 2012 at 4:57 PM
The Klamath County Sheriff's Office is losing experienced officers due to an uncertain future...and many of those officers are moving to Jackson County.
Shawn Richards has been with the Klamath County Sheriff's Office since 1998. He's now headed to Jackson County to take over search and rescue, and marine patrol duties from Lieutenant Patrick Rowland...
"it's just an amazing opportunity that I've been given over there to take over the program from one of my mentors who is retiring." Noted Richards.
Sheriff Tim Evinger says that Richards is the third high-ranking officer to head from Klamath to Jackson County since last September...
"Attrition has been a very difficult problem at the sheriff's office for years, and it's due to stability in finances."
With the office of Klamath County Sheriff up for election, Richards also had concerns about job security...
"The entire stability of the office is a big unknown."
The sheriff says he can't blame the officers for moving on...
"I completely understand - I'm doing that myself. And with a great uncertainty in front of this office, I understand why they're going." Evinger adds that he's in the process of filling six vacancies. "We'll be filling those in the next thirty days."
But, it will be had to make up for the loss of experience.
"It's been tough - and I hate to add to that." Says Richards.
Klamath County's loss will be Jackson County's gain.
Sheriff Evinger notes that only a few of the candidates applying for the entry-level positions have any law enforcement experience. The new hires will be the first that the office has made in almost two years.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.